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Friday, May 11, 2007

A larger-than-life victim: OxyContin adverse drug reaction lawsuits

Sean Barry, who at 35 had become the youngest college president in New England, was known as a larger-than-life character who rose from modest beginnings to head the college. He was beset by health problems throughout his life, winning a five-year battle with leg cancer after 18 surgeries, only to have his leg amputated in 1992.

The cause of his death remained a mystery late last year. Results of a toxicology test confirmed that an excess of oxycodone, which is the active ingredient in painkillers such as Percocet and OxyContin, killed the 42-year-old Barry. He died Nov. 16 in his childhood home on Marlboro Street in Quincy.

Sean is one of hundreds of Americans each year who have died after taking OxyContin. Why so many? Today’s newspapers reveal that the drug’s maker had long deceived doctors, leading them to believe OxyContin was not addictive. Three executives of Purdue Pharma, the drug maker, pled guilty yesterday to criminal charges in Federal court. The judge levied fines totaling $630 million. This includes $130 million in civil lawsuits by pain patients who claimed they became addicted as a result of having OxyContin prescribed to them. Barry Meier writes in today’s New York Times, “Purdue Pharma…heavily promoted OxyContin to general practitioners, who often had little training in treating serious pain or in recognizing signs of drug abuse.”

Advice: If you have pain severe enough to bring you to the doctor, ask your doctor about alternatives to pain-killing drugs.

Read another story of a lawsuit on a pain-killing drug’s side effects, or read John Kelly’s source story in today’s Patriot Ledger.

1 comment:

maureen said...

I knew Sean Barry for several years. He was an excellant teacher, gentleman and friend. His job at the College meant the world to him. It saddens me beyond belief that a doctor prescribed him such an addictive drug. I am certain that if Sean had his life to do over he would not have ever taken oxyContin. He was a very smart individual that became a victim so innocently. The world has lost a wonderful person on account of someone else's stupidity. With all addictions, in the begginning, as humans we think this won't happen to us. Shame on the drug industry and I pray everyday for Sean Barry's family. Maureen