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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Law

Former Alabama Attorney General Working for Big Pharma

The nation’s opioid crisis has affected every state. From 2006 through 2014, the Alabama Department of Public Health recorded 5,128 deaths from opioid overdoses in Alabama. In 2016, Alabama had the highest per capita prescription rate with a rate of 121 prescriptions per 100 persons, which means 1.2 prescriptions for every citizen in the State of Alabama. The death rate continued to rise through 2017, during which year drug overdose deaths peaked at a rate of 18.0 per 100,000 people.

To combat this crisis, many states have sued opioid manufacturers for their role in contributing to this crisis. Not all states have followed this path. While each state’s decision may be based on factors particular to that state, drug companies are actively using lobbyists to discourage states from taking action.

One former Alabama politician has been particularly vocal in discouraging states from suing opioid manufacturers. Luther Strange, Alabama’s former attorney general and United States Senator, has been lobbying attorneys general in an effort to discourage them from pursuing this litigation. Strange claims that his antagonism to these lawsuits is based upon conservative principles. Strange, however, may be motivated by reasons other than so-called conservative principles. A recent news article reported that Strange was working behind-the-scenes as a paid attorney for the Sackler family, who owned Perdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.

Strange’s role in the opioid battle is symptomatic of a larger problem, namely, revolving door politicians who use their political power and connections to line their pockets working against the public good. This kind of underhanded politics needs to change, and Alabama should pursue damages against the big pharma companies that actively fueled this crisis in our state.


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