Summary and Analysis

Purdue Pharma headquarters.

Purdue Pharma headquarters. Photo: John9474/Wikimedia Commons

As time goes on, more and more data is revealed about the way our epidemic of opioid addiction and overdoses developed. We recently received further information in an article from Stat that outlined an unholy alliance between Purdue Pharma and the Addiction Policy Forum, a group with the stated purpose “to end stigma, help patients and families in crisis and translate the science around addiction.”

One might think that anyone from the Addiction Policy Forum would have shunned relationships or funding from any group that was deeply involved in triggering this vast social problem. But, as reported by Stat reporter Ed Silverman, this wasn’t the case.

In an article published September 29, 2021, Silverman describes the way Jessica Nickel of the Addiction Policy Forum and Burt Rosen, top lobbyist for Purdue, built a questionable relationship beginning in 2017. This was a full decade after Purdue had admitted to criminal actions on behalf of their star drug, OxyContin, and paid a $635 million dollar fine. This was also more than two years after lawsuits by U.S. cities and states began hitting courtrooms around the country.

Silverman points out that in 2017, Nickel emailed Rosen saying, “Really look forward to working together. We are very interested in joining the Pain Care Forum.” The Pain Care Forum was a group launched by Rosen on behalf of Purdue. Nickel subsequently joined this group.

Those aren’t all the startling points provided by Silverman. Anyone interested in the way America became the country with the highest rate of pharmaceutical opioid use in the world may also be interested in his report.

Excerpted from Stat

Over several months in 2017, a top Purdue Pharma executive and the head of the Addiction Policy Forum, a controversial patient advocacy group, discussed the possibility of working together to combat opioid addiction, according to emails reviewed by STAT.

One potential project concerned providing educational resources to people struggling with addiction issues, which the Addiction Policy Forum sought to launch. This occurred around the same time that the pharmaceutical industry trade group, PhRMA, was looking to its members — which included Purdue — to contribute to a multi-year, multi-million-dollar grant soon to be awarded to the advocacy group, the emails noted.