The mother of a woman who died last year from an overdose says she cried tears of joy when she watched a former drug company CEO from Gates get arrested.
Laurence Doud is accused of selling billions of dollars worth of highly addictive pain killers to pharmacies. News10NBC wanted to know if any of those pharmacies are here so we poured through pages of court documents to find out.
The court documents say no. They say most of the pharmacies are independent and downstate. The one pharmacy that got named in a separate filing is on Long Island.
Police say the kinds of drugs involved in this case fueled the overdose crisis.
Patty Suppa lost her daughter Christina last year.
“The epidemic was bigger than her,” Suppa sid.
Christina Farsace had two young children. Suppa says her daughter battled addiction and got hooked on pain killers after knee surgery. Farsace’s picture is on a Gates Police van, showing the faces of people who died from an overdose.
News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: “When you saw that former CEO get walked down the street in New York City and get charged, what did you think and feel?”
Patty Suppa, daughter died from overdose: “I cried with joy. It’s a step and it’s a huge step in the right direction.”
Doud is the former CEO of Rochester Drug Cooperative or RDC. It’s the 6th largest drug distributor in the country. Doud was charged by the U.S. Attorney in New York City on Tuesday.
In court documents, prosecutors say, despite getting warned by his own staff, Doud knowingly broke federal laws to sell huge amounts of pain killers like oxycodone and fentanyl to pharmacies that he was, again, warned were using the drugs illegally. And prosecutors say he did it just to make money.
Doud became RDC’s CEO in 1991. He was fired by RDC two years ago.
News10NBC asked RDC to talk to us on camera. Instead, they referred to the two-page statement they released Tuesday which read in part, “We made mistakes. We accept responsibility for those mistakes. We can do better. We are doing better and we will do better. “
RDC ageed to pay a $20 million fine and as long as it runs properly for three years, the company won’t get charged. The feds say Doud turned RDC into a multi-billion dollar company.
“All the billions of dollars that man made, well give it back to Rochester New York where these families died,” Suppa said, “and open up rehab centers and detox and more beds for females.”
Doud is suing RDC, saying he was illegally fired and made a scape-goat for all the problems.
The group called Gates to Recovery is holding a protest outside RDC Friday evening. They’re calling it “From Greed to Grief Rally.”
On Wednesday, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said the county added RDC to the list of drug companies it’s suing for “fanning the flames of addiction.”
In the past year, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says 166 people died from an overdose.
Opioid Overdose Crisis
Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.1 The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2
How did this happen?
In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.3,4 Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.1That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).5
What do we know about the opioid crisis?
- Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.6
- Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.7–9
- An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.7–9
- About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.7
- Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.10
- The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.10
- Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states.10
Quarterly rate of suspected opioid overdose, by US region
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.10
This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy. The increase in injection drug use has also contributed to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. As seen throughout the history of medicine, science can be an important part of the solution in resolving such a public health crisis.
What are HHS and NIH doing about it?
In response to the opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is focusing its efforts on five major priorities:
- improving access to treatment and recovery services
- promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
- strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
- providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
- advancing better practices for pain management
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of HHS, is the nation’s leading medical research agency helping solve the opioid crisis via discovering new and better ways to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid use disorders, and manage pain. In the summer of 2017, NIH met with pharmaceutical companies and academic research centers to discuss:
- safe, effective, non-addictive strategies to manage chronic pain
- new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid use disorders
- improved overdose prevention and reversal interventionsto save lives and support recovery
In April 2018 at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the launch of the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.