Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: The Sackler Family: America's Deadliest Drug Dealers

Part One: The Sackler Family: America's Deadliest Drug Dealers

Tue, 16 Apr 2019 10:00

Part One: The Sackler Family: America's Deadliest Drug Dealers

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Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar wide ape and disappear into the vegetation. In wildlife on the iHeartRadio app, or wherever you get your podcasts. My name is Alex Fumero and I host the new podcast more than a movie, American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos. I'll be diving into the behind the scenes controversy, including an alleged backlash from the Mexican mafia. Several people who worked on the movie have been murdered. I don't want to speak about why would people be murdered for being in a movie. Listen to more than a movie. American me. From the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts, sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Tojo. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books through your has blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts. What's wagon metals? I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ********. Sophie is giving me the thumbs up for that intro. This podcast talk about all the bad people, stuff you don't know about them, all that good jazz. My guest with me is James Heaney. Actor, comedian. James. Welcome to the show. Hi. It's a super big pleasure to come in here. I've listened to a lot of episodes. I've spoken towards the speakers in my car. This is the first time I'm going to get responses. I'm really happy about that. Well, I'm. I'm glad to hear that you, you shout at my disembodied voice. I like to imagine thousands of people doing that into their cars every morning. Whenever I see somebody else talking to themselves in the car, I imagine they're listening to behind the ********. So do I. So do I. It's narcissism in my case, but it's very flattering. And yours. Thank you. You know, I don't want to blow too much time, but I always start the first episode thinking to myself, gosh, this person could be me. And then the second episode, I'm like, thank God there's some distance. Between myself and this monster, well, James, you got anything you want to plug in the P zone? Oh, sure would. I'm part of the same network. Alchemy this it's twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Improv podcast with Kevin Pollack. Yes, that Kevin Pollock. And specifically, we have a live show at the dynasty typewriter theater on May 7th at 8:00 PM gosh, it would be great if everyone came it would everyone book a ticket to LA Flood the theater. Do not let them not see. You demanded to be let in. Bring weaponry. Force your way in. Riot. Oh well, that might be just just crossing a threshold there. Yeah, you might find yourself in the second episode of behind the ********. With that attitude, we're we're gearing up for that. I do like to urge crimes every every third or fourth episode just to just to just my little way of thumbing my nose at the FTC. Because they can't they can't do anything about podcasts I didn't realize they had no control over. No, they don't. Not over podcasts. It's we're in international waters. Of of radio. Like, it's the there's there's no law here, there's no maps for these territories. And do you worry ever that people are gonna get your your tricks? Like, I heard some stash tricks about drugs the other week, and I thought maybe all the cops know it now. Yeah, see, that's part of what I I worry about, which is why I don't tell my good stash tricks on the air. But if they're listening, they got to be cool, right? Yeah, they got to be cool. Cops. Certain threshold of coolness that goes along with a listener of behind the basket. Exactly. So we assume that, like those, the cops will let you slide for a little bit of weed. Quarter pound of meth or you know, just like little stuff, you know, OK, quarter pounds a lot. Not if you're, not if you're doing a lot of meth trust a couple of weeks. Yeah, I guess so. Anyway, speaking actually of of of drug dealers, we're talking about drug dealers today. Probably the most successful, wealthiest and deadliest drug dealers in the history of the world. Have you ever heard of the Sackler family? I have not heard of the Sackler family. Have you ever heard of Oxycontin? I have heard of Oxy. We have all. Yeah, I've. I have heard that's actually not I I don't like Oxycontin. Never done it. Never done it. I'm free to say I've done a lot of things. Never touched. She can't see. I really like painkillers, and I have messed around with oxy a couple of times in the past, and it's one of those things where I won't let myself buy opiates because I know I would develop a problem like ******* that because I really enjoy them. I had an injury when I was early in college and I had like Vicodin or whatever. I don't know, maybe it was codeine, but whatever pill they gave me. But it wasn't as good as acid, and it wasn't as good as the other things I was doing, and I was so worried that it would have a counter effect that I ended up not taking them. And I think I've really dodged a bullet. So I've got an addictive personality. Yeah, it's that's like one of the ones to really avoid because that'll that'll ******* kill you pretty fast, which is so upsetting because it's legal. Yeah, it's super legal, super hard to control and really easy to go from. Like, like if you just taking the pills, that's reasonably safe. But the problem is people escalate and they start extracting the oxy from the pills, or they move up to fentanyl and then they're they ******* kill themselves. Yeah. And it's like, it's just so hard to moderate. Like it's even alcohol, like, you know, probably on a societal level. Causes more problems, but. It's harder to kill yourself with. Umm, maybe not. I guess that, you know, it's easier to kill other people with alcohol so nobody's nobody's ramming a car into somebody else while they're they're hopped up on oxy. Probably. Probably. Actually, I would say that I wouldn't put my seal of guarantee that people aren't driving on Oxycontin. Definitely are driving on it. I just think they're less dangerous. Probably. So if you're a drunk driver, switch to. We should just roll right into this episode. Wow, I'm sweating and you're talking. Don't break the law. Break the law. I heard that whisper. I'm roberte. Oh, wait, that was that's the intro. I'm just going to start reading the episode now. In the early 1900s, before World War One, Sophie and Isaac Sackler immigrated to the United States from Poland and Ukraine, respectively. They were both Jewish, which you may recall was not a great thing to be in Poland or Ukraine around the turn of the 20th century or a couple of decades after the turn of the 20th century, or like, pretty, pretty rough. Now. I don't want to sound ignorant, but I didn't realize that early on it. It's bad. I thought it was towards, like, the 20s. No, I mean it. It was bad. It was got worse then. But like, you know, the late 1800s there, the Chelminski massacre, which was like a bunch of Cossacks killing, like, I might have been as many as half a million Jewish people have the biggest pogrom in Russian history. And that, I think, was pretty close to Ukraine. It might have been in some of what is, I don't know, the exact geographical area, but like, yeah, it was pretty rough. Lot of bad stuff happening. And I don't know if the Sacklers fled Eastern Europe because of, you know. Desire not to get murdered or because of crushing poverty, but it was probably like a mix of the two. So these refugees established themselves in New York City. Isaac became a grocer. He and his wife had two children, the eldest of which was Arthur. Arthur grew up to become a psychiatrist. His specialty was something called biological Psychiatry. He was the very first physician in the world to use ultrasound for a diagnosis. He was a major critic of electroconvulsive therapy and was a significant figure in the racial integration of New York City's blood donation. So pretty good. So I'm kind of in a critic of the. Electrotherapy myself. So, yeah, I've, I kind of am on the side. I believe they still use it sometimes. There's certain things that it really does help because I know some people who have have found it very helpful, but I've heard the same thing. It's so hard for me to believe. It seems so barbaric. I think the problem was they used to do it for like, everything. Like, oh, your daughter. Looking at guys, let's shock her skull. Like, there's a couple of things that really does help with, and now they pretty much only do it for those things. I thought the overdiagnosis of ADHD was a problem. I guess we're, I guess we're lucky. We're progressing. Yeah, if they. I mean, they just hit you back then for having ADD and like the 50s like that was that was your Ritalin was was getting punched little better than the shock therapy, I think. I don't know, maybe. It depends. Depends on the hand. Fair enough. Yeah. Now, at this point, the Sackler family seemed to be living the epitome of the American dream. They've gone from dirt poor refugees to well off groundbreaking physicians in 50 years. Pretty cool. I'm impressed. Pretty cool. But in 1952, Arthur made a fateful purchase that would, decades later, cripple the United States and secure his family a place in historical infamy for all time. He bought a company called Purdue Frederick, a pharmaceutical drug maker. Now, Purdue Frederick had been established in 1892 selling what were called patent medicines, essentially snake oil. Prior to Arthur's purchase, Purdue Frederick's main product had been grazed glycerin tonic, a broad application remedy sold as a cure for basically everything. It was mostly wine. Like, here's something does it doesn't. Like, I've definitely had something secured. But when I have a nasty case of the sobriety, I just break open a bottle of medicinal wine. And, you know, that solves it very, very quickly. Yeah, yeah, very, very fast. Now, Arthur put his brothers, Mortimer and Raymond, in charge of the company. Morty had been born in 1916 and Ray in 1920. Both brothers were also psychiatrist, so the whole family goes into psychiatry. Which. You know, good for the parents, high, even kids. Yeah. I mean, that's impressive. They're they're owning stores. I guess colleges were different back then. Yeah. I mean, how did all three dollars? Yeah. Yeah. Like, you know, a couple of lawns and you could get your bachelors back then, like, oh, man. Yeah, yeah. It's one of those things you look at like even in the 70s, you could work part time and pay off college by the time you graduate. And it was like. Don't make me cry on on microphone right here now it costs as much as two new trucks. And that's not a great college. So all three kids were psychologists, psychiatrists, psychologists. They're able to like actual doctors, which makes sense. Purdue. Purdue. Exactly. So Arthur put his brothers Mortimer. Oh yeah, he put them in charge of the company. So Arthur was free to devote himself to what was increasingly his passion. Marketing. I'm going to quote from a fantastic Esquire article by Christopher Glazik quote, Arthur Intuited that print ads and medical journals could have a revolutionary effect on pharmaceutical sales, especially given the excitement surrounding the miracle. Drugs of the 1950s, steroids, antibiotics, antihistamines and psychotropics. In 1952, the same year that he and his brothers acquired Purdue, Arthur became the first ad man to convince the Journal of the American Medical Association, one of the professions most August publications, to include a color advertorial brochure. So that's this guy's like, well, that's the ******* problem. That's like, if you start marketing, if you start marketing drugs, then that means you're spending money because you want to make more money. And is that not the whole ******* sorry, are you? I don't know if there's a cursing. Yeah, there's plenty, of course. Yeah. Serious. But it's just upsetting because that's the root of the problem. It should never have been like, ohh marketing's where we're gonna really make or break. Your marketing should be the doctor being like, you have this problem with this medicine will help for it. That's the only marketing drug ****. Yeah. You shouldn't be, like, looking at color. And you have these spots all over your body. Yeah, well, how about a measles vaccine? I need this. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like, you know, nobody advertises. Like, do you want polio? Probably not. Check out this new shot. That'll take. No, you should give people the polio vaccine so they don't get sick. Now produce. First big hit was Librium, which was the first name Valium was marketed under. Arthur pitched Librium as the key to treating psychic tension, a phrase he invented because it sounded sexier than saying stress are there suggested that psychic tension was the real cause of many maladies, from heartburn to bad poops. The tactic worked like ******* gangbusters. Valium became the most widely prescribed medication in the United States, the first drug to break the $100 million sales record. Arthur was quickly inducted into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, a thing which should not exist. No, it shouldn't. No. Why? Why would you, why would you be proud of that? Now, this might be outside of your realm of thought, but was Valium kind of the trade off of what they used to do lobotomies like wasn't it? Was is there? I don't. I think they were still lobotomizing people. They were point. And this is like the 50s. So if I'm not mistaken, this is when I think you're Rosemary Kennedy was her name the JFK's youngest sister when they like scrambled her brains because she liked boys. So I think they were still doing that at this point. They were. But. Has nothing because I thought that lobotomies and Valium kind of had a crossover of like, they might have been like, it might have like, I I just don't know that. I don't know. I could see it, I could see it helping with that. I I've taken it recreationally a couple of times. When I was living in Guatemala, you could just pick it up from the corner store. So we would actually pick up a Valium and hydrocodone and it was like. That was your that was your like Thursday night or whatever it was. It was fun. I met this Irish biker who was like traveling, biking all the continents and now when you say biker, I need to know the difference. Is it peddling biker or no motorcycle? Huge ******* motorcycle. Makes sense. Having drugs? Yeah, sure. He just. He spent like three weeks just doing all of the Valium. I've never seen anyone two more ******* value. God, he's crushing it up and railing 3 at a time. It's just never been my party truck. No, I I'm not a huge fan of it, but yeah, it's sold very well for for Arthur Sackler. So it was Arthur who began the Sackler family tradition of donating huge sums of money to museums. Some of this may have been honest generosity, but a lot of it was also a tax thing. When he created the Sackler Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he gave it a huge collection of Chinese artifacts. But he required the museum to sell him the artifacts he was giving them for a very low price, what he'd paid originally in the 1920s when he acquired them, so he could then donate. The artifacts back to the museum, but write them off at their 1960s value so that he made net money donating these things to the museum. It sounds like a scam. Is that a scam? It's definitely. The only reason it's not a scam is because he has enough lawyers to sue you for calling it. That's true. It sounds like the art version of a shell company. Absolutely. That, like, it's legally distinct from a scam because he can afford to pay lawyers. Like, yeah, yeah, exactly. But it's it's the same thing as like that guy on the street corner putting like a. A dot or whatever underneath a bunch of cups and asking you to bet on which, like, it's it's a con for sure. Now, Jillian Sackler, Arthur's third wife, does call this allegation fake news. So that should tell you. When was that? That was recently going to say that's a very new term. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That was that also makes sense. Third wife has to. Yeah. He had to re up a couple of times. Yeah, I think they all did. In general, the Sackler brothers seemed to have been the kind of rich people I would not have gotten along with. Mortimer threw a fit on his 70th birthday when the Met agreed to let him throw his birthday party. There. But they wouldn't let him redecorate an ancient shrine that he wanted as the centerpiece to his party. So he got very angry at them. Like that's the attitude this family has. So that said, there was nothing super evil about this generation of the Sacklers. They were questionable. OK, go ahead. Yeah, they were. Sorry. Yeah, they were questionable. But they weren't like mustache twirling villains. They also weren't that rich by rich people standards. They were multi millionaires, but not billionaires or multi billionaires. Raymond and Mortimer had paid attention to their brother's success with Valium. They realized that if you could just take a powerfully. Addictive substance and then marketed as a cure, all for a bunch of different things. Well, that was incredibly profitable. So they started looking for another drug that they could basically apply the Valium strategy to. In 1972 a London doctor had developed a special slow release medicine technology. In 1981 Ms Contin entered the UK market was a timed release morphine pill designed to hopefully be less addictive than traditional morphine. In 1987 Purdue Pharmaceutical brought Ms Content to the US market. Now the drug was a big hit for cancer patients and Purdue made a tidy. Them helping suffering sick people into their mortal illnesses. Like whenever I hear something I gotta ask questioner, so when they think it's going to be less addictive, do you think it's going to be less addictive because it's something that is not creating a habitual use because it's slow release? That's exactly it. It's not like they're one of the big things we're trying to avoid is the euphoria, because like taking painkillers and gives you this, like feeling of euphoria when you first come up. And that's one of the things most addictive about it. So the idea was that if it's slow release, people won't get hooked as easily. It will be less pleasurable, but it will fight pain more effectively. So number one, you'll have to take fewer pills. And #2, you're less likely to develop a habit and just, like, show someone up with heroin, you know, like one of the there was a big stigma against opiates at this point in the United States and like, the 70s and 80s because a bunch of young men had been given morphine basically in Vietnam. Like, they get shot and they get shot up with morphine, and then they wound up horribly addicted to morphine. And so, like, there was a real stigma against taking any kind of opiate painkiller in the US for, like, during this. So Ms Content was really only used by cancer patients. Like it was the only people who would get prescribed this kind of medicine were people who were like dying, essentially. Umm, so, you know, Purdue made a decent amount of money off of it, but it was impossible to make a lot of money off of it because it wasn't being prescribed for anything but mortal illnesses. Ms Content was unlikely to ever become a Valium level seller, and that was a problem for Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Fortunately, for the Sackler family, and unfortunately for the entirety of rural America, in 1986 two doctors published an article in a medical journal that suggested based on a 38. Patient study that long term opiate use was safe for patients without a history of drug abuse. This, combined with a widespread, completely fallacious belief that the rate of addiction for long term opiate use was less than 1%, helped convince the leadership at Purdue that opiates were the future of their company. It was a future Arthur Sackler would not live to see. He died in 1987. His last words to his family were reportedly leave the world a better place than when you entered it. Those are great words of wisdom. Great words of wisdom. You know you hear about it. The family didn't didn't do any of that. Ohh, oops, to the dupes. From this point on, Richard Sackler, Raymond's son and Arthur's nephew, would grow to become the head of the family and eventually the company. Here's how Esquire described him. Quote perhaps the most private member of a generally secretive family, Richard appears nowhere on Purdue's website. From public records and conversations with former employees, though, a rough portrait emerges of a testy eccentric with ardent, relentless ambitions. Born in 1945, he holds degrees from Columbia University and NYU Medical school, according to a bio on the website of the Koch. Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, where Richard serves on the Advisory Board. He started working at Purdue as his father's assistant at age 26 before eventually leading the firm's R&D division and separately, its sales and Marketing division. So, like Arthur, he's not just a Doctor Who likes research. He's really in the marketing and advertising. Maybe he should have just done that. Like, she could have been making ads. And there's a lot of money in advertisement. Yeah. I mean, he makes a lot of money in advertisement. It's just for Oxycontin. Yeah. It's not the thing you want to. Advertising. Now, Raymond took a step back during this. Presumably to allow his son to shine. One of Richard's colleagues during this time, who lived through the transition, recalled that the new boss brought a new intensity to the job. Richard really wanted Purdue to be big. I mean really big. The best opportunity for that was, of course, a new drug based on the content system. The patent for Ms Content was about to run out, but produce scientists were developing a similar drug, basically a time release version of an old opiate called oxycodone. Now in the 1930s, Oxycodone's most popular formation. Scope pedal, a mix of oxycodone, scopolamine, and ephedrine, was basically an early speedball. The Vermont loved it. It was like one of the most popular Nazi drugs of the whole Nazi era. During operation Himmler, when the German staged a false flag attack on themselves to justify the invasion of Poland, the prisoners they dressed as Polish soldiers were all killed via massive injections of scope pedal. So oxycodone has a fun history before it became Oxycontin, and Purdue is about to add a new chapter to that history. Esquire talked to Peter L'outre, a senior director of clinical research at. Do from 91 to 2001 and he explained how the idea evolved at all. The meetings that was a constant source of discussion? What else can we use the content system for and that's where Richard would fire some ideas. Maybe antibiotics, maybe chemotherapy. He was always out there digging so Sally Allen, a former executive director for product management added that Richard was very interested in the commercial side and also very interested in marketing approaches. He didn't always wait for the research results so by 1990, there was ample evidence that Ms contin had a dangerous potential for abuse it had already become one of the most abused. Prescription opioids in the United States, but that of course did not make Richard any less likely to think it was a good product to market. You know, they kind of ignored the fact that there were already signs that time release morphine was no less addictive than regular morphine and just sort of. Made time release oxycodone. Assumed it would work. Wouldn't the world be a better place if they were like, we really should do time released antibiotics? Yeah, yeah, yeah. They they decided not to do that. I mean, I think they probably made those at some point, too. But antibiotics? Nobody's gonna want to take a **** load of antibiotics. What about with the right advertising? You don't think with the right pitch don't you won't die? Yeah. I'm not even sure how you advertise that stuff. Yeah, I guess you're right. Yeah. Oxycontin. You just have a picture of some guy sitting out at like a beach and. Looks like he's an old guy. Surgery scar in his arm. But he's smiling and it says, like, freedom. Oxycontin. Yeah. It's kind of a good name, too. I hate to say it, but it's an exciting name to just say yeah. And it's got one of those names that shortens well to a street drug. You got any oxy, bro? Like, you know, Ms Contin? You know, he's gonna be like, you got any Ms content? I guess. But yeah. Anyway, we're going to find out what happens next with Richard Sackler, the other Sacklers in Oxycontin. But first some ads for products that hopefully. Current Purdue Pharmaceuticals that that that might be there's there's no knowing it's randomly slotted in so. Hopefully not. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on tick tock. You maybe even heard the rumors, your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we here at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions, sometimes their answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research with you. For the first time ever in a book format, you can preorder stuff they don't want you to know. Now it's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. 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So in 1995 Purdue Pharmaceutical convened a series of focus groups with physicians trying to decide if they'd be willing to prescribe Oxycontin, the company's new drug for non cancer pain. Most doctors were unwilling to do this. They worried about getting their patients horribly addicted to a dangerous drug and perhaps igniting an opioid epidemic. Purdue learned that physicians did want a long lasting pain reliever that was less addictive than morphine. Considered kind of like the Holy Grail of medicine at that point, now they didn't have such a drug. Oxycontin was just as addictive as the old pills, perhaps even more addictive. But the focus groups taught them that there was an incredible potential in selling such a product, whether or not they actually had one. In 1995, Purdue Pharmaceutical released Oxycontin onto the open market at the company launch party for the new drug. Richard Sackler compared the launch of Oxycontin to a natural disaster, asking the audience to imagine a Blizzard or a hurricane, and saying the launch of Oxycontin tablets will be followed by a Blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition. The prescription Blizzard will be so deep, dense and white. Oh wow, Richard. No. Don't like you know what you're doing. Like, you know he must have suspected. Yeah, sounds it sounds like he was thinking money was more important than people. Sounds like that might have been his only motivating factor. Yeah. The predecessor drug, Ms Contin, had a reputation for being very prone to abuse. Many patients had figured out how to crush it and extract pure oxycodone, thus getting past that nasty time release thing and giving them a much more. Effective drug. So Purdue instructed its sales staff to lie to doctors and say that this could not be done with Oxycontin, even though their own internal studies showed that it was actually super easy to do with Oxycontin. Well, I mean, I might be wrong. I grew up in the 90s, but was it a new invention? Crushing pills? Because that's always been like, oh, you want that? Just crush it up. Like, they didn't think that was part of. Well, they they did abuse strategy. They did. They knew it could be done. They've done studies showing that it was really easy to extract pure oxycodone from Oxycontin. They just lied. The doctors and so. It couldn't be done. Sounded like trick, you know? Yeah, exactly. It was like, oh, it's really hard to make a pill people can't crush and then purify and snort. What are we just lie? This this pill is fortified with iron bent iron. Superman. Superman. Yeah. Kelly watched this pill. It's they have, like, one trial pill that's just made out of steel and like, look, you can't crush it. Don't try the others. Don't try. The others do not. Now, as a pending Massachusetts lawsuit against the company alleges, quote, doctors had the crucial misconception that Oxycontin was weaker than morphine, which led them to prescribe Oxycontin much more often. In 1997, Michael Cohen, a Purdue executive, wrote this letter to Richard Sackler. Since oxycodone is perceived as being weaker and weaker opioid than morphine, it has resulted in Oxycontin being used much earlier for non cancer pain. Physicians are positioning this product were Percocet, hydrocodone and Tylenol with codeine have traditionally been used. It is important that we be careful not to change the perception of physicians towards oxycodone when developing promotional pieces, symposia, review studies, articles, etcetera. Sacklers response to this was short and sweet. I think that you have this issue well in hand. So again they think it's not addictive. Don't tell them the truth, yeah. Yeah, they they they know what they're doing. That same year, Michael Friedman, the company head of sales, emailed his boss with similar concerns. Correcting the false impression that doctors had about Oxy would be bad for business. Quote. It would be extremely dangerous at this early stage in the life of the product to make physicians think the drug is stronger or equal to morphine. We are well aware of the view held by many physicians that oxycodone is weaker than morphine. I do not plan to do anything about it again, Richard Sackler replied. I agree with you. He then asked. Is there a general agreement or are there some holdouts, everybody on the board, about lying to doctors? We we all in the same the same boat here. Yeah, it's it's. It's pretty blatant criming, I mean, and there's a paper trail for this, it seems like, yeah, like thousands of emails and it's and unless I'm wrong. They're still selling Oxycontin today, right? Ohh. I mean, yeah. Yeah. I mean, unless it was this morning that there was a breaking news I missed. You're not gonna stop selling, and this is all like that. You don't have exclusive access to this information. No, no, no, no, no. There's been a number of big stories. We'll get to that in a little bit. How this all came out. All right. Sorry. Sorry. No, it's all good now. All this was divulged as the result of a lawsuit filed by the state of Kentucky against Purdue in 2015. As you'd expect, the company had already explanation as to what Sackler and his executives did was not fraud. Here's pro publica. Quote Sackler had said supports that the company accurately disclosed the potency of Oxycontin to health care providers. He takes great care to explain that the drugs label made it clear that Oxycontin is twice as potent as morphine, Perdue said. Still, Purdue acknowledged it had made a determination to avoid emphasizing Oxycontin as a powerful cancer pain drug out of a concern that non cancer patients would be reluctant to take a cancer drug. So we didn't lie to doctors, we just didn't emphasize the truth so that people would keep taking the pills. So that's different from a lie. Yeah. It's a it's not really that different. It's it's not really, it's kind of just a lie. It's it's a lie. Yeah, it's kind of just a lie. Now, documents released from the Kentucky suit, as well as a lawsuit Massachusetts, paint a picture that puts Richard Sackler Square in the middle of produce strategy to sell a **** load of Oxycontin by lying about how strong it was. Seven other Sackler family members were also implicated. The strategy worked like gangbusters, netting the company $48 million in the first full year of sales. In an e-mail to the company, Richard noted clearly this strategy has outperformed our expectations. Market research and fondest dreams. So $48 million. This is back in the 90s. This is 1996, I think. Yeah, yeah, that's the first year. Three years later, after 10s of 1,000,000 more in sales, he emailed this to an executive at Purdue. Quote, You won't believe how committed I am to make Oxycontin a huge success. It is almost that I dedicated my life to it. After the initial launch Phase I will have to catch up with my private life again. Just working too hard, lying to doctors. Poor guy. It sounds like he's got psychic stress. You're psychic. He should try some liberty. Yeah, try some liberty. It's great for psychic stress. It's so liberating. It's liberating. It wasn't psychic stress. What's it called? Psychic. I think that was the word. OK. Psychic stress. Yeah, I think that was the term he used. Yeah. Now, when he was supposed to Massachusetts, Richard Sackler denied that he had participated in any kind of gigantic lie to trick doctors into over prescribing Oxycontin, according to Pro Publica. He, quote, offered benign interpretations of emails that appeared to show Purdue executives or sales representatives minimizing the risks of Oxycontin and its euphoric effects. He denied that there was any effort to deceive doctors about the potency of Oxycontin. And argued that lawyers for Kentucky were misconstruing words such as stronger and weaker used in e-mail threads. The term stronger in Friedman's e-mail, Sackler said, meant more threatening, more frightening. There is no way that this intended or had the effect of causing physicians to overlook the fact that it was twice as potent. We weren't saying it's not stronger. We're saying it's not more threatening than morphine. It's just a little pill. It's not scary. Morphine comes in a needle sometimes. That's scary. Well, I guess, I mean, I am not defending them. I already think they're a bunch of **** ****. But honestly, there should be more questions about this. Why did they not ask? OK, strength is one thing. The potency seems like a very scientific question to ask. Yeah, I mean, it it does. It's it seems like a lot of doctors fell down on the job here. Yeah, we'll get into why in a little bit. Because they. They, they, they they. There's some doctors being shady as **** in this in this story too. Actually, quite a lot. Not surprising at all. Not surprising at all. Hey, man, you got a lot of ******* student loans to pay back. I get that MD. Like you write some pill prescriptions that makes that **** easier. It's like all those doctors in LA. You remember it like, medical marijuana was like the thing. And there would be all those, like, old doctors who was just, like, signing pot prescriptions. Retirement plan. Yeah, that was for a long time before Obamacare. My only doctor. That was like the one doctor appointment I'd getting. That's the only doctor. It got scary when he'd give me advice of like, Ohh, Brush is pretty high. Oh my God, the pot doctor wants me to cool off on coffee when the pot doctor gives you real medical advice. That's not. You really should go see someone. I'm like, no way. You're scaring me, Sir. I remember my first pot doctor. It was near Venice Beach. And I, like, walk into this shady, dirty office and there's, like, as I'm standing outside his office, there's a poster of, it's like a fake painting of the Mona Lisa, but she's got a blunt and, like, and then I go into the office and the guy's wearing a lab coat and I'm like, dude, you don't you don't need to buy a lab coat. You got that from the costume shop, didn't you? LA we know what's I think we went to it. Was he a really old guy with really thick accent? Very thick accent? Yeah, I think that. Hot doctor back in the I don't know what he's doing today. I hope he made enough to retire, because he should not be practicing medicine. I'm just crossing my fingers there's never an episode 2 about him. And behind the ********. I mean, yeah, I don't even remember that guy's name, but I I'm sure he did something terrible to wind up being a pot doctor. I guess so. So produce baldface lying to patients and doctors was enabled by the FDA. Curtis Wright, the FDA Examiner who approved Oxycontin's initial application, allowed the company to include this note on the package. Delayed absorption. Is provided by Oxycontin tablets. Is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug. Wow. That word believed a lot of that word is doing a lot of weight lifting there is carrying the others really. I mean I'm a critical thinker, but when I see a word like believe, the first thing I do is stop believing and start like looking things up. Yeah, looking things up. Saying maybe yes it is this hard believe is 9 times out of 10. Shouldn't. Yeah. You don't want to hear that from a doctor like you have. We believe this will help. Yeah. Like oh, I feel like you should know a little better. I mean, I have medicine sometimes. It's a crapshoot, but it's not, not comforting to hear that. In 1996, the year after Oxycontins release, Curtis Wright quit the FDA. He was hired by another pharmaceutical company for a short while and then hired by Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Esquire talked to him years later, and he offered this defense quote. At the time, it was believed that extended release formulations were intrinsically less abusable. It came as rather a big shock to everybody, the government in Purdue, that people found ways to grind up, chew up, snort, dissolve, and inject the pills. We didn't. We didn't know. People would do the thing that they do with every drug. Like, every every single drug. It's like, of course they predicted people would be pooping and putting it in their butts, but crushing the crushing OHS God, where did they think we'd never heard of this drug we made in the 80s? We had never heard of people railing drugs. No. Who would have guessed that? Come, come on, dude. Like, you think people are going to find a way to get high off of a drug like this is this is people we're talking about. You can get high on holding your breath. Yeah, you can get. Do, yeah. Oh boy, like I'm sure. After that video of the Dolphins passing puffer fish around went viral, there's people that are trying to figure out how to get wasted on that **** but I haven't seen it yet. I think you're going to have, like, a scuba club that all dies. But I wanna do it. But could I get high on puffer fish? I don't know. You know, I know a guy. He's a dolphin, but I know a dolphin. OK, we'll talk after. We'll talk. We'll talk afterwards. I don't want to. I don't want to get the DEA on my *** for selling dolphin drugs. Yeah. So a major part of Oxycontin success was produced novel strategy of declaring a war on pain. Over the course of the late 1990s, they poured millions and millions of dollars into backing doctors who supported opioid treatment for chronic pain. These doctors formed advocacy groups like the American Pain Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, and produce own lobbying organization partners against Pain Partners you, me, and this crippling pill addiction partners against pain. Did they really call it a war on pain? Yeah. And that was it. I again, I'm not great at history, but that's the same time the war on drugs was going on. Yeah. Yeah. Is that like a gorilla, like, like clandestine war that we were running? Yeah. Yeah. It's it's like, it's like the war in Nicaragua where. That's. Yeah. Yeah. So that's kind of similar. If we have a war on drugs and a war on pain using oxygen, using Oxycontin, which is different from a drug for reasons, it's supplying arms to the Taliban. OK, that's that's a different story. But it seems like that's what the war on drugs would be. It's like when we sold missiles to Iran. While giving missiles to Iraq to fight Iran, that's it's the that of drugs. That's the lines I'm making. Yeah, yeah, yeah. These groups which many consider to just be fronts for Big Pharma operated by crooked doctors, pushed regulators to treat pain like the 5th vital sign. They advocated for a 10 point pain scale which doctors should ask patients about during every visit. An internal produce strategy document explained that the goal of this was to quote, attach an emotional aspect to non cancer pain. This would hopefully cause doctors to treat it more seriously and aggressively. Aka with Oxycontin. Now, up until that point, pain had to a certain extent been something chronic sufferers just dealt with. There were obviously attempts to mitigate it as best as possible, but complete cessation of pain was seen as simply unrealistic and the risk of giving chronic pain sufferers morphine was considered too high. With Oxycontin Purdue changed all that. The ironic thing is, it wasn't actually super effective against chronic pain. It was marked as lasting 12 hours so patients could sleep through a night free of agony, but most patients only got about 6 to 8 hours of relief. This meant they took more Oxycontin, which meant they ran through their prescriptions faster, which led them to calling doctors in agony. When doctors questioned sales reps about the cycle, Purdue advise them to increase the dose rather than the dosing frequency, which guaranteed that the cycle would keep on keeping on and also increased produce profits. Now doctors aren't dumb and many of them were hesitant about some of the claims Purdue was making. There were particularly concerned just for a moment now when when I like everything with Oxycontin right now I understand that's its own beast, but the whole 1 to 10. Scale of pain. I'm a little confused on how authentic that is. Is that really a scientific method? Because I've heard that before, but what's to stop somebody? And I'm not telling anyone that their pain is not the number they say. Yeah, but what's to stop someone from saying their pain is something higher than it is? Nothing, OK. I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't something I was missing. No, there there's no way to like, you can't, there's not like an objective measurement of of pain. Like, you know, I know people who have chronic pain conditions for whom like. You know, they'll get hurt, like, in a way that would like **** me up for a day or two. And they just, like sort of grin and bear it because they're so used to dealing with pain. So yeah, like there's no way to objectively measure pain. And I'm not saying, like, a 10 point pain scale is necessarily a bad idea, but Purdue introduced it specifically so that because it would make it easier for people to get introduced. Didn't realize they produced those doctors and stuff that they were funding. They were like, I mean, it was it was a thing that I know the marionette man. Yeah. Controls all the puppets. Exactly. Not a fool. They were like, if we have this is, this is the way people do this stuff, it'll be a lot easier to sell a **** load of Oxycontin. And it was. Speaking of selling a **** load of things that aren't Oxycontin, unless the ad that gets randomly slotted in is for Oxycontin. God, I hope not. It might be. There's no way to know we've been having Coke brothers ads. You know, I'm sure a Blackwater ad will wind up soon. Like, the Koch brothers are avid listeners. Oh yeah, and they are. And you know what? In fairness to them, an awful lot of behind the ********. Listeners need a lot of oil refined. I mean, I get that. I get a fan emailing me every week saying, like, I have all this crude oil and no way to refine it. Do you know where I can do that? In such a way that it pollutes the Bay of Galveston beyond ecological salvage. And I say the Koch brothers. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. That's nice for that. So if you need your crude oil refined, check out the Coke Brothers refineries and if you need anything else that we advertise products. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tik T.O.K. You maybe even heard the rumors from your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we hear at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing. This research with you for the first time ever in a book format you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books. My name is Erica Kelly and I am the host and creator of Southern Freight true crime. There are so many people that just have no idea about some injustices in the world and if you can give a voice to them you can create change. To be able to do it within podcasting is just such a gift. I believe it was 18 months after I got on with speaker that I was making enough that I could quit my day job. It was incredible. I always felt like an ambassador for speaker. But that's because I'm passionate about podcasting. It's really easy to use. I always tell people I am so not tech. Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with spreaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love. Spreaker from iheart. Introducing the biz tape you're all things music, business and media podcast. Join me, Joe Waslewski and my co-host Colin McKay every Wednesday where we discussed the breaking news, changing the music industry, and what your favorite artists and creatives are up to. Colin, who's your favorite artist? Oh, you know the track factor. Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Captain Beefheart? Snap back to reality, Eminem style. Join music industry. Professionals, Joe and I, as we pull back the curtain of the successes and failures of the biz, you guys have been hanging out a while. What are they doing? Calling, I guess, listening to an ad? Sorry. Listen to new episodes of the biz tape every Wednesday on the Nashville podcast network, available on iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. We're back. So as I was saying, doctors are not dumb and many of them were hesitant about some of the claims Purdue was making. They were particularly concerned about whether or not Oxycontin caused euphoria. If you've never taken opiates recreationally, you should know that they have a strong mood altering component. Painkillers work on your emotions too. You feel very happy, especially when coming up. It's kind of incredible. Of course, this is something that concerns doctors. Because euphoria is the most addictive thing in the world, like if Oxycontin caused it, then that might make it too dangerous to prescribe all Willy nilly. Thankfully, Purdue was there to lie to doctors and say their pills did not cause euphoria. Sometimes they did admit that it could, but that it did so less than other opiates, which of course there was no evidence for. During the deposition, Richard Sackler was confronted with a 1998 note from a company salesman admitting that he, quote, talked of less euphoria when selling the drug to a doctor. Sackler argued in court that this was fine. Because 1998 was, before there was, quote, an agreed statement of facts. Now, in legalese, an agreed statement of facts is a list of facts both parties in a lawsuit agree on and submit to a judge at the start of a case. So if I understand right, Richard Sackler was saying it was fine for his employees to light a doctors about the fact that his pain medicine didn't cause euphoria because the company hadn't been sued yet and so there wasn't an agreed upon statement of facts like that. I think that's the argument he was making. I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a murderer, because I haven't been. I haven't been. What? Have you seen me kill anyone in this courtroom today? I I rest my case. Ignore the blood on my shirt. Now, when the lawyer for the state asked what difference does that make if it's improper in 2007, wouldn't it be improper in 1998? Exactly, replied not necessarily. That's it. So you got to say in court, wow. Yeah. I always pictured court much different than that. Yeah. The state did present him with more memos and sadly defended himself by saying that the claim of less euphoria could be true. And I don't see the harm I'm going to quote from Pro Publica again. The same issue came up regarding a note written by a Purdue sales representative about one doctor got to convince him to counsel patients that they won't get buzzed as they will with short acting opioid painkillers, safely defended these comments as well. Well, what it says there is that they won't get a buzz. And I don't think that telling a patient, I don't think you'll get a buzz as harmful. He said Sackler added that the comments from the representative to the doctor actually could be helpful because maybe patients won't get a buzz. And if you would like to know if they do, he might have had a good medical reason for wanting to know that. Maybe because he want to know if they were to get addicted or not. Telling them won't get a buzz will cause you to prescribe an addictive drug to people not thinking it will get them addicted. Yeah, because if you're not getting a buzz, then why would you do it? Addictive? Yeah, exactly. If it's not going to give you a buzz once they develop a painkiller that doesn't get you high, that's great. Like, I mean, and I say this is a guy loves getting high on painkillers. That's like one of the best medicines you could possibly invent is something that just stops pain and doesn't have an abuse potential, which is what they were saying Oxycontin was. But, you know, drive through the Midwest, you will see that it is not. Oh, it causes so much pain. Yeah, it really does. It's nightmarish. Now? Uh, between 1996 and 2001, the number of Oxycontin prescriptions in the US went from 300,000 to 6 million. Now, this might sound to you if your podcast valkumey this went from 300,000 downloads in a week to 6 million. I assume everybody at alchemy this would be happy. I know I'd be happy. I mean, Sophie, we'd be super psyched. Richard Sackler was not happy with this. In 1999, when employee Michael Friedman told him that Purdue was now making more than $20 million a week. Sackler replied instantly to his e-mail after midnight that sales were, in his opinion, not so great. After all, if we are to do 900 million this year, we should be running at 75 million a month. So it looks like this month it could be 80 or 90 million. Blah humbug. Yawn. Where was I? Wow. Only 20 million a week, man. That's what I don't play. You cannot take it with you. It's you can't take it with you. Yeah, at a certain point, everyone, as far as I know, unless Purdue has figured out a cure, you're going to have to leave it all behind. Yeah, you can't spend all that. But I'd sure like to be challenged, too. I mean, I feel like if I made $20 million in a lifetime, that would allow me to live beyond my wildest dreams. That's enough money for three months rent in the bank today. I would. I wouldn't be crying my myself home. This is one of those things I don't tend to. I think it's actually dangerous to like talk jokingly too much about like guillotines and stuff. But like when you look at people living this way and then you realize that like something like 70% of Americans have less than $1000 in the bank. It's like what do you think this is going to end buddy? Like you're selling poison to people and you're not happy at 20 million a week and there's people like worried that they have to choose between insulin and food for the month. Like what do you think the long term is on this like? Ah, it's frustrating. It's like, and that's the nicest way you could put. Yeah, that's the nicest. Very frustrating. Now by 2001, Purdue held more than half of the market share for long acting opioids. That year was also the first year annual sales of Oxycontin broke $1 billion. So in the span of five years, Oxycontin sales went from 48 million in a year to 1 billion in a year. The New York Times article that announced this noted that these sales were, quote, even more than Viagra. If you have found a way to sell people something that they want more than erections, you're selling a drug like a dangerous drug. Like, I feel like that's across the board. True. Now that New York Times report also noted that the drug had been involved in the deaths of at least 120 people in the year 2000. The Sackler family was warned that a journalist was, quote sniffing around the Oxycontin abuse story. The family discussed this threat during their next board meeting and craft this is only the year 2000. We're just up to 2000. And I had a I had a I I knew somebody that died of Oxycontin before the year 2000. How is there only 120 people, cases of people dead, though there were more, but like that, this is just what they confirmed. We're talking about journalists digging into it. Before, this was common knowledge. So they they had found 120 cases. But, like, obviously there were probably thousands at that point. Yeah. That's crazy that they're only starting to discover. I guess in my world, I thought that that was something not to go to. It's not my therapy session. But when I was younger, people were taking Oxycontin and it was not that bad. Like, everybody was like, oh, this is just a pill you get from the doctor's office and they abuse the **** out of it. It's like, well, at least it's not heroin. But then then obviously the next step is heroin. The next step is. Heroin. Then you wind up in that fentanyl **** and then you die. I don't think fentanyl is around. When I was fentanyl, that's now. Yeah, they were just moving to heroin. God, yeah. Geez. Sorry. Sorry. Scary stuff. When I hear them say 120 people dead in 2000, I'm like, that can't be. That was just like, who the New York Times could confirm. It's like, I mean, I assume it was a lot of legwork behind. Probably. I wouldn't be surprised if maybe the pharmaceutical company was trying to hide it. That's exactly. We're about to get to. So the family discussed this threat during their next board meeting and crafted a response that was. Their goal was that the response quote deflects attention away from the company's owners. So the the Sacklers who made-up the majority of the Purdue board, when they hear their journals sniffing around is like, OK, well they're going to probably figure out that a lot of people are dying on oxy, but we got to keep our names out of this ****. We don't want to hurt the family. Sounds a little bit like the mob. Shortly thereafter, time put together an article on Oxycontin deaths. Concerned Purdue employees asked Richard Sackler than the CEO about this. He wrote that the Times coverage was not quote balanced. Blame the deaths on. Drug addicts and assured them we intend to stay the course and speak out for people in pain who far outnumber the drug addicts abusing our product. Wow, that sounds like such a familiar tone. Yeah, I don't know. It's reminiscent of arguments have heard from idiots to this day. Yeah. Unnamed idiots. Yeah. In 2001, there were about 8 drug overdose deaths for every 100,000 Americans. By 2010, that number had almost doubled to 15 deaths per 100,000. On a national scale, this equated to 10s of thousands of new dead people, and most of them were dying. From opiate painkillers, including Oxycontin. Now, many of them were actually oding on heroin. But it just so happened that most of those deaths were, of course, folks who got hooked initially on an opiate painkiller like our good friend Oxycontin. In January of 2001, Richard Sackler received a request for help from a produce sales associate. The Rep had been to a community meeting at a local high school convened by a group of mothers whose kids had all overdosed and died on Oxycontin. Quote statements were made that Oxycontin sales were at the expense of dead children, and the only difference between heroin and Oxycontin is that you can get Oxycontin. From a doctor. The very next month, a story dropped that 59 people had died in a single month from Oxycontin in the state of Massachusetts. Richard's response was this quote. This is not too bad. It could have been worse. Yeah. Could have been more people. It will be soon, very next week a mother wrote a letter to Purdue Pharmaceutical stating, quote, my Son was only 28 years old when he died from Oxycontin on New Year's Day. We all miss him very much, his wife, especially on Valentine's Day. Why would a company make a product that strong 80 and 160 milligram when they know it will kill young people? My son had a bad back and could have taken Motrin, but his doctor started him on Vicodin, then Oxycontin, then Oxycontin Sr now he is dead. A produced staff member responded to this by saying simply, I see a liability issue here. Any suggestions that that was like the the company responses like, OH, there's moms, we might we might get sued over this like, no, no other concerns. Later that month, Richard Sackler finally came up with a solution to this problem so many people were whining about for some reason, he wrote in a confidential company e-mail quote. We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem they are reckless animals. According to a state of Massachusetts lawsuit filed like this year quote, Richard followed that strategy for the rest of his career. Collect millions. Selling addictive drugs and blame the terrible consequences on the people who became addicted by their misconduct. The Sacklers have hammered Massachusetts families in every way possible, and the stigma they used as a weapon made the crisis worse. So. Get people addicted to a drug, then encourage the criminalization of that abuse and attack the users themselves, which will of course make people less likely to get help, which will make them more likely to buy. Your view when you're actually a victim keeps you buying oxy. The only thing that would make it worse is if the Sackler family started investing in privatized prisons. Tell me they didn't know. I mean, actually, they may have. A lot of their money is dark, but we will get to what they spend their money on a little bit later. It's pretty bad. This strategy worked for a little while, but by 2010 the nation had started to wake up to the dangers of Oxycontin, and Purdue was forced to carry out what Esquire describes as a breathtaking pivot quote. Embracing the arguments critics have been making for years about Oxycontin susceptibility to abuse, the company released a new formulation of the medication that was harder to snort or inject. Purdue seized the occasion to rebrand itself as an industry leader in abuse deterrent technology. The change of heart coincided with two developments. First, an increasing number of addicts unable to afford Oxycontin's High Street price. Returning this cheaper alternatives like heroin. Second, Oxycontin was nearing the end of its patents produced, suddenly argued that the drug it had been selling for nearly 15 years was so prone to abuse that generic manufacturers should not be allowed to copy it. Three years later, on April 16th, 2013, the day several Oxycontin patents were set to expire, the FDA gave Purdue what they wanted, banning anyone else from selling generic Oxycontin. Purdue basically extended the profitability of their chief cash cow by arguing that it was too dangerous to let anyone else sell. And did that stand? Yeah, yeah. So now I now have mixed feelings. I think it's awful. And there should not be generic versions of Oxycontin out there. So less is better, no matter how you. But you don't want to just give more. Happens to people just because one person has it. Do you think it's probably impossible to say that lives were saved by not giving that patent generic like options? I doubt it. I I seriously doubt it. I like, I don't think it did anything but allow Purdue to keep profiting from it. Like if there was any reducing loss of life from that it was cancelled out from the fact that they were marketing this and pushing it so heavily to doctors and continuing to do so and continuing to try to get it on the market because they like it was. I wouldn't give them any credit for that. Yeah, you can't give them credit because it's just out of greed. But I just wonder what would have happened if it was opened up to generic markets. You would have been even more abused. You. You could argue that it it might have made the situation better because, yeah, it's cheaper, but also that means that addicts aren't going to bankrupt themselves doing it. They're not going to have to steal **** in order to afford it. And like, you know, you do find that when there's places I think Denmark is one of the more they'll give heroin addicts free heroin like the government will, and you like you go to a government. Make and they'll they'll give you the heroin to inject and stuff, and they find out that, number one, it doesn't create more addicts than #2 the government saves money because they're not out committing crimes, they're not breaking into houses and stealing **** in order to like. So you could argue that it again made things worse on the addicts by their not being a generic available. Even though it's not great for people to be addicted to oxy, it's one of those hard questions that is above my brain scale. You also might argue that it killed more people because Oxycontin is safer than heroin, and if you can't afford Oxycontin, you're just going to go to heroin or fentanyl. Yeah, actually, that's true. Yeah, you could argue if there was just cheap oxy, maybe we'd have a few more addicts, but we'd have less overdoses. So, yeah, I think they might have killed more people that way. Now, Richard Sackler's personal attitude towards the harm his drug was doing is illustrated by the case of Purdue Germany. According to Pro Publica's quote, Sackler pushed company officials to find out if German officials could be persuaded to loosen restrictions on the selling of Oxycontin. In most countries, narcotic pain relievers are regulated as controlled substances because of the potential for abuse. Sackler and other Purdue executives. Discussed the possibility of persuading German officials to classify Oxycontin as an uncontrolled drug, which would likely allow doctors to prescribe the drug more readily, for instance, without seeing a patient. Fewer rules were expected to translate into more sales, according to company documents disclosed at the deposition. In other words, in Germany and all across the EU, Richard Sackler's goal was to be able to sell Oxycontin not as a prescription medication, but as an uncontrolled painkiller. And that's not the same as over the counter. I think it's a little different. A little bit. You have to have somebody tell you to get it, but you don't necessarily have to go through a doctor. That's it. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's what that means. Like, you don't have to go to a, like, a dot. Like, yeah. You can't, like, just pick it up like a. You can't go out Amala, for example. But you can you can get it without there being any of the controls that we put on. Like, was their argument later that they were just simply just saying no Germany, we were saying it was out of control. These drugs are out of control, but they were the ones who made it. I'm kind of surprised they didn't take that argument. Yeah. Robert Kako, one of the men who actually developed Oxycontin, warned Richard Sackler when he learned of this plan, quote if Oxycontin. Uncontrolled in Germany, it is highly likely that it will eventually be abused there and then controlled. Richard's response to Keyko showed zero concern about the impact of releasing an addictive drug uncontrolled onto an entire continent. How substantially would it improve your sales? A lot. Yeah, a lot. With the German Government ruled that Oxycontin would be treated like any other addictive narcotic. Richard asked if it was possible to appeal. A German Purdue executive told him that this was not possible and sacked. They wrote back tersely. When we are next together, we should talk about how this idea was raised and why it failed to be realized. I thought it was a good idea if it could be done. How? I'm sorry, what what year was this? Just generally, is this more recent? Is this like, this is like in the late 2000s, late 2000, this pretty recently, yeah. So, and I don't know a lot about Germany, never been there. But I've worked in video games and I know that Germany has some strict rules on video games and people are bringing video games from outside so they can get past certain ratings right now. I would imagine that that means if these are uncontrolled substances, doesn't that affect all the countries that are around Germany, that there would be flooded with Oxycontin? Yeah, it sure it could have. Yeah, yeah. Wow. Thankfully, the Germans were like, took one look at the US and we're like. And I don't think we want that here. Yeah, yeah, we already, we already had enough of a problem with with with opiates in our past. We're, we're good, we're good. So that's what we got today. When we come back on Thursday, we're going to talk about among other things, the court case in 2007 against Purdue Pharmaceutical, the ongoing legal stuff now. And of course we're going to get a lot into the marketing of Oxycontin, which we haven't really talked about that much this episode, but there is quite a lot to say, but that's all. Next Thursday, do you want to plug your plug cables before? I mean if you're still, if you didn't hear at the beginning cause you were fast forwarding. Here it is alchemy. This releases every Tuesday and Thursday. It is funny. We get suggestions from the audience and we make an improv show up. It's with Kevin Pollack. Yes, that Kevin Pollack. And we have a live show May 7th at the Dynasty Typewriter theater in Los Angeles. Please come. So check it out. Dynasty Typewriter Theater, May 7th. James Heaney. You want to plug in of your of your social media? Oh yeah, you can find me. At the Heine TH EHE AM that's on Twitter and a great way to find me is brief news it has all the different ways to get a hold of me. Awesome. Well, check out James Heaney on the Internet and check out this podcast on the the web at Check us out on Twitter and the Graham at Bastarde pod and buy a shirt. You could buy a cup holder. You could buy an SPG 9 recoilless rifle branded with a behind the ********. Logo and and equipment in case you get to take out a T72. You know, like like we all find ourselves needing to do at some point. So what else? What else are we doing? Is that all the plugs? Oh, I have another show called. It could happen here. It could happen in your ears. Been listening to the ads for it's not out yet, is it? Oh, it is. Oh my gosh. I'm super excited about the Civil War. Could happen here in the state. It sure could. And spoiler it. You don't want it to. No, I'm not surprised. It wouldn't. It wouldn't be good. I actually am really excited to listen to it. I'm still. I'm embarrassed. I'm still finishing up the end of the world. But once I'm done with that, that's my next one. Well, make it your next one, listener, because it will make you sad. That scared. And we all want to be sad and scared, don't we? All right, well, we'll be back Thursday. I'm very hungover right now, so this has been a little bit of a scattered scatter brained episode. So if he's saying it's she's very aware of this fact. Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, this is the end of the episode. Daniel's looking at me like when when the **** are you going to stop? And it's now. Right now, right this moment now. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your cohost for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast, and this special episode we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioral discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that. My sleep shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. My name is Alex Fumero and I host the new podcast more than a movie American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos. I'll be diving into the behind the scenes controversy, including an alleged backlash from the Mexican mafia. Several people who worked on the movie have been murdered. I don't want to speak about why would people be murdered for being in a movie? Listen to more than a movie American me on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Caffarel Trujillo. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books through your husband blood. And his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts.