Chris McGreal writes for Guardian US and is a former Guardian correspondent in Washington, D.C., Johannesburg, and Jerusalem. He is the author of American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts (2018). (November 2019)

Follow Chris McGreal on Twitter: @ChrisMcGreal.


Big Pharma’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic: Pay But Deny

One of the “Oxy Dollars” thrown outside a courthouse where Purdue Pharmaceuticals bankruptcy hearing was being held, White Plains, New York, October 10, 2019

Even as the pharmaceutical industry agrees to ever larger payouts to settle an onslaught of lawsuits over the opioid epidemic, it continues to obfuscate over its leading part in the conspiracy of greed that caused what the Trump commission, in its report on the crisis, called “this national nightmare.” Instead, Pharma’s PR operations and lawyers use manipulated statistics and make claims that the epidemic is “a complex problem with root causes that are difficult to disentangle” in an attempt to disperse responsibility so widely that, in the end, everyone is to blame and so no one is.