I agree that Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the maker of brand name Oxyccotin, led a disinformation campaign that inflicted great harm on society.
I wonder how we got to this point. I think an underlying cause is the regulatory structure of the Food and Drug Administration. Most people are unaware that funding for the FDA changed in 1992 with the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. That act requires users (PhRMA) to pay a fee to FDA to have their prospective drugs reviewed; i.e., much of FDA's funding comes from industry.8 comments on this story
Another relatively recent trend is that PhRMA conducts their own studies. I am a pharmacist and I have colleagues ask "Who has any interest in funding studies except the manufacturer?" I would suggest the public has an interest in funding drug studies. Another old-time option that has fallen by the wayside is for PhRMA to fund the research but allow a third party, such as a university, to conduct the trials.
This is an example of a broken regulatory system. Instead of top-down regulation from the FDA, the U.S. has a bottom-up, post-market reporting system. States will sue Purdue — Utah has sued the manufacturers of antipsychotic drugs in the past. Is this cost-effective and efficient? Is it good public health policy? Is this the system America really wants?