by dday

This one's personal for me. I have a relative who has suffered under an addiction to OxyContin since he was 14, and is only now putting his life back together. Purdue Frederick, maker of the drug, knew that they were peddling an addictive product that could be easily abused, but intentionally hid the warnings from the general public for a decade. They got off with a slap on the wrist a few months back, after the Justice Department attempted to slow down the investigation and the prosecution produced such a poor case that even the judge yelled at them for failing to jail the executives for their crimes. Today in the New York Times, Barry Meier, who wrote a great book on this subject called Painkiller, has a long piece detailing Rudy Giuliani's business involvement with Purdue Frederick.

In 2002, the drug maker, Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Conn., hired Mr. Giuliani and his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, to help stem the controversy about OxyContin. Among Mr. Giuliani’s missions was the job of convincing public officials that they could trust Purdue because they could trust him [...]

A former top federal prosecutor, Mr. Giuliani participated in two meetings between Purdue officials and the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency investigating the company. Giuliani Partners took on the job of monitoring security improvements at company facilities making OxyContin, an issue of concern to the D.E.A.

As a celebrity, Mr. Giuliani helped the company win several public relations battles, playing a role in an effort by Purdue to persuade an influential Pennsylvania congressman, Curt Weldon, not to blame it for OxyContin abuse.

Yes, I'm sure it was difficult to get Curt "Working For the Russians" Weldon to play ball.

Purdue Frederick is still a client of Giuliani Partners, and Giuliani still draws a salary from the business, so he continues to profit on the suffering of millions of addicted teens.

Read this shill-of-the-year quote:

“I understand the pain and distress that accompanies illness,” Mr. Giuliani said at the time. “I know that proper medications are necessary for people to treat their sickness and improve their quality of life.”

By the way, at one point Rudy assured the DEA that everything was fine, he's put his top man on the job.

The D.E.A. was not only critical of how OxyContin had been marketed, its inspectors had found widespread security and record-keeping problems at the company’s manufacturing plants [...]

At two meetings, the first at Giuliani Partners in early 2002, Mr. Giuliani and Purdue’s executives argued that they were already taking steps to eliminate any problems.

(Bernard) Kerik had been sent to Purdue’s manufacturing plants to revamp internal security, they assured Mr. Hutchinson. The federal investigators, they argued, should back down and give them a chance to prove they could handle the problem on their own.

Don't worry, Bernie's on it! The plant will have a numbers racket and a love nest suitable for affairs in no time.

Rudy's dead in the water for this election, as evidenced by his resorting to more 9/11 ads to energize his campaign. But the moral blackness of defending this indefensible pharmaceutical company is perhaps the most telling example of how this guy would run the country. It also informs this quote from the other day.

"I suspect that our Democratic colleagues would get that question more often in a Democratic audience than we get in a Republican audience," he said. "Maybe more Democrats are concerned about their health care than Republicans, maybe because Republicans have health care or maybe Republicans generally like the idea of private solutions."

Private solutions like a company who poisons the country and lies about it.