It’s worth a note that the company that pled guilty to misleading the public about the risk of addiction to the painkiller OxyContin — a drug that has plagued sections of rural America over the last decade — was represented in negotiations by former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

OxyContin was overprescribed in rural America

It’s been known for years that Giuliani represented Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin. But the New York Times reported Tuesday morning that Giuliani was the lead negotiator in the talks that led to a guilty plea and a $634.5 million fine. “When we had meetings, he was the lead counsel and the lead spokesman for the company,” said John L. Brownlee, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia. Purdue Pharma was a client of Bracewell & Giuliani, the former mayor’s Houston law firm.

Purdue put OxyContin on the market in 1996, and abuse was first noted in rural areas — eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, Appalachia, eastern Maine, eastern Ohio and the rust belt of Pennsylvania. According to Kenneth Tunnell, a criminal justice professor at Eastern Kentucky University, OxyContin was “intended for patients in pain associated with terminal disease, (but) it became a drug of abuse as it was over prescribed and trafficked within newly developed black markets.” Reports of OxyContin skyrocketed in the mountains of Kentucky. Police in one small town reported that complaints about Oxy jumped from one every four months to three to four calls a day.

With OxyContin, Tunnell wrote, “Rural areas are facing some of the same problems as urban areas except with far fewer resources”¦.”

The fine for the charge of false marketing amounted to 90 percent of the company’s profits on the drug, the Times reported.

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