Within the past couple of years, deaths from presription drug overdoses have recieved National attention from the deaths of Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger, but it’s not just the rich and famous who are at risk. In fact, a new report from the L.A. Times, reveals that prescription drug overdoses claim a life every 14 minutes and deaths from presciption drug overdoses now claim more lives each year than auto accidents.
According to the CDC, between 2000-2008, deaths among teens from presription drug overdoses doubled and deaths among those aged 50-69 tripled. In Missouri alone, there are approximately 13.23 deaths per 100,000 each year.
In 2004, Janssen Phamaceutical Products, LP was forced to issue a Class 1 Recall Notice regarding 400,000 defective Fentanyl Patches. More recently, Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, along with several of its top executives plead guilty to fraudulently marketing Oxycontin and agreed to pay over 600 million in fines. USA Today reported that, "Purdue’s sales staff told doctors that it [Oxycontin] was hard to abuse, less addictive than other pain medications and could be stopped without patients experiencing withdrawal, according to the Justice Department."
In April of this year, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan. One part of that Plan is the prevention of improper presription practices. The Plan, however, fails to address what roll the drug makers should play in helping to prevent the improper use of prescription drugs through better monitoring, educating physicians on the appropriate use of the drug and by providing clearer warning labels.