cover2

jason potter

jason potter

Friday, 19 April 2019 09:00

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 04/20/19

Pharmaceutical companies spend billions annually on influencing physicians and other pharmaceutical providers, to write more prescriptions for their products. For most companies, the majority of their marketing budget is dedicated to direct contact with doctors, offering token gifts and free lunches, in tandem with information on their products. Many aspiring medical practitioners and physicians are unaware of the impact this can have on their practice and their patients, with recent studies revealing the full extent of this influence. 
 
Fortunately, there are those dedicated to preparing today’s students on where to draw the line when pharmaceutical reps come calling. Today, we talk with Dr. Elizabeth Gundersen, the Director of Ethics at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. An expert on physicians’ vulnerability to the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Gundersen’s ethics class helps prepare students for ethical challenges they face as future as practicing physicians. 
 
Listen to today’s podcast for the eye-opening truth about the pharmaceutical industry with Florida Atlantic University, Director of Ethics, Dr. Elizabeth Gundersen.
Tuesday, 09 April 2019 11:12

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 04/13/19

Each year, thousands of people from across the country go to Florida seeking treatment for drug addiction. Some find help and recover, but the vast majority relapse and continue to struggle with the disease, even after going through treatment many times. This population is vulnerable to insurance fraud through cooked treatment centers partnering with “body brokers” and operations of “sober homes” to find patients with good health insurance. Brokers and sober home owners offer those trying to get clean, free rent and grocery store gift cards, cigarettes and cell phones in exchange for going to a specific treatment center, which pays kickbacks for each client.
Today, we’ll talk with Filmmaker Pat McGee, the Producer of “American Relapse,” a story about two people fighting to make a difference against the devastating heroin epidemic that’s spawning a billion-dollar treatment industry. Against the odds, two recovering addicts spend their lives pulling needles out of the arms of addicts and assist in placing them in reputable treatment facilities.
 
The film features Frankie and Allie who live and work in Delray Beach, Florida, the Rehab Capital of America, now referred to by some as the Relapse Capital of America. They allowed the film crew all access for one weekend. What transpires over 72 hours is not only captivating and raw, but a heartbreaking rollercoaster ride.
 
Listen to today’s podcast for an incredible behind the scenes look into “American Relapse” with Award-Winning producer, Pat McGee.
Tuesday, 02 April 2019 12:40

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 04/06/19

Over 130 people die each day after overdosing on opioids in America. The abuse of and addiction to opioids is a national crisis that has touched the lives of more families than any other health crisis in our history. Today, more families are finding the courage to speak out in support of prevention and recovery than ever before. But that hasn’t always been the case. Ten years ago, speaking out about a family member’s struggles with heroin addiction was almost unheard of.  On this episode, we’ll talk to a school counselor from Texas who did just that. Beginning 10 years ago, Dr. Kendall Young’s life took a dramatic turn both personally and professionally. In this podcast, the Tivy High School Counselor, from Kerrville, Texas joins us to share how her life changed in an instant when she learned a former student lost his life in a deadly confrontation with police officers in 2009. Next, still reeling from the loss of a former student, she learns her son is battling heroin addiction. We’ll talk about how the adversity she faced as a parent and as a counselor changed her approach to parenting and counseling forever.
 
We’ll further our discussion with comments from Dr. Young about the actions she’s taken within communities as an outspoken advocate for prevention and recovery all while being an active member of the Kerrville Recovery Community Coalition, a marathon runner, a published author and a dedicated basketball mom.
 
Listen to today’s podcast to hear Dr. Young’s transformational story of becoming a community leader after being touched both personally and professionally by the opioid epidemic.
Thursday, 28 March 2019 12:27

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 03/30/19

It’s estimated that one hundred and seventy-five people die from opioid overdoses daily in our country. Naloxone can save lives, if there when needed, but the window of time is very short. Brain damage is likely if help doesn’t arrive within four to six minutes of an overdose; and most victims do not survive more than ten minutes.
A recent review of EMS records from 485 agencies across the United States showed average response times of seven-minutes in urban settings compared to 14 minutes in rural settings. On today’s show, we’ll talk about combining three programs to make naloxone more readily available as a community initiative to help those who have overdosed. 
Most of our listeners are probably aware of Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone). We introduced Project DAWN to our listeners in episode 10. The Program, which launched 2013 in Ohio, provides Naloxone Training and DAWN Kits containing a free sample of Naloxone and instructions to anyone in the community who attends the 30-minute training. 
With so many people overdosing in public places today, why not place Naloxone, the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal drug, in public places just as defibrillators are today. Our guest in episode 112 did just that. Dr. Geoffrey Capraro, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University developed what he named the NaloxBox. Inspired by the proliferation of AEDs for heart attacks, the NaloxBox kits contain Naloxone and tools like a breathing device along with instructions to save a life. By placing these devices in public places, people who wouldn’t otherwise make it, get a second chance for recovery. NaloxBox is now available for purchase online at NaloxBox.Org.
 
In today’s episode, we’ll introduce a free app that can link anyone in need to the naloxone carrier nearest to them. This new app is called NaloxoFind, and it will enable anyone to locate all registered naloxone carriers and registered NaloxBox locations within a 2 mile radius of their location. The app is free and available via the iTunes app store and Google Play. 
 
Listen to this podcast to learn how your community can become a Community of First Responders by registering naloxone carriers and downloading the NaloxoFind app for free.
Wednesday, 20 March 2019 09:05

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 03/23/19

In our last episode of this series, we learned how passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act took away the DEA’s most effective diversion control enforcement tool, the immediate suspension order. The bill was shaped in large part by a former DEA lawyer. On this episode, you’ll hear more stories about Congressman and high ranking government agency officials who have played key roles in deciding the fate of drug bills and policies; and weeks later went to work in the pharmaceutical industry. 
 
24 years ago, the medical director for the FDA played a key role in approving OxyContin without clinical trials and shortly thereafter, left to go to work for Purdue Pharma. In this podcast you’ll hear a clip from “The Sentence that Helped Set Off the Opioid Crisis” a podcast by Caitlin Esch and Krissy Clark in their “Uncertain Marketplace” series that frames a key reason why OxyContin was approved by the FDA and the people involved in that decision. 
 
Back in 2007, a member of Congress led an all-night effort to pass legislation that prohibits the government from negotiating lower Medicare drug prices. Today we’ll play a “60 Minutes” piece by Steve Kroft from 2007, that reveals what happened after the bill was passed and why, in our country an EpiPen costs $608 and in Britain, where they can negotiate drug prices with the manufacturers, it costs just $70. The Congressman who led passage of that bill became a leading lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Industry after its passage.
 
Today in the final part of our 4-part series with Mr. Joe Rannazzisi, he shares his reaction when his department was asked to be more like the FDA. As we pick up our discussion, Mr. Rannazzisi talks about the shakeup in leadership that led to his departure from the DEA. 
 
Join us on this podcast, the final episode in our 4 part series, for more candid conversation with the former head of the Department of Diversion Control for the DEA, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi.
Monday, 11 March 2019 09:07

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 03/16/19

When a key member of the government’s legal team went to work for the pharmaceutical industry, the job of diversion control enforcement changed dramatically. In this episode, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi, who for over a decade, was the front man in the government’s battle against the opioid epidemic, shares a first-hand account of what happened when Congress took the word of an industry attorney over an agency that was actually enforcing the law.

Today, in the third part of our 4-part series, you’ll hear more of Mr. Rannazzisi’s unfiltered comments on the passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Enforcement Act and the Congressional leaders behind it.  “This doesn’t ensure patient access and it doesn’t help drug enforcement at all. What this bill does has nothing to do with the medical process. What this bill does is take away DEA’s ability to go after a pharmacist, a wholesaler, manufacturer or distributor,” he said. “This was a gift. A gift to the industry.”  

Greg is joined on this episode by guest, award-winning author of “American Overdose”, Chris McGreal. McGreal’s book is a comprehensive portrait of the greed, corruption and indifference that led our country into the worst health crisis in American history. Additionally, Mr. McGreal is an investigative journalist for the Guardian, who in 2016, wrote a compelling story about Mr. Rannazzisi titled “Opioid epidemic: ex-DEA official says Congress is protecting drug makers.”  
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/31/opioid-epidemic-dea-official-congress-big-pharma

Listen to this podcast, the third in our 4 part series, for more candid conversation with the former head of the Department of Diversion Control for the DEA, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi.

Tuesday, 05 March 2019 10:29

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 03/09/19

This is the 2nd in our 4 part series with the former head of the Office of Diversion Control for the DEA, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi. We began this series by talking about the surprisingly candid report released on December 19th, 2018 by the Energy and Commerce Committee titled “Red Flags and Warning Signs Ignored: Opioid Distribution and Enforcement Concerns in West Virginia”. The purpose of the report was to investigate allegations of “opioid dumping” in West Virginia. 
 
In today’s podcast with Mr. Rannazzisi, who for over a decade was the front man in the government’s battle against the opioid epidemic, you’ll hear an in-depth conversation about how the diversion controls, that were supposed to be in place to protect the public from “opioid dumping”, failed in epic proportions. He gives a candid account of the friction and distrust that emerged between DEA and the DOJ that resulted in a breakdown in their ability to protect the American public from shipments of mass quantities of opioids, previously flagged as suspect. He’ll share his unfiltered comments on the passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Enforcement Act, a game-changing piece of legislation and you’ll learn about the people who were responsible for the legislative win for the pharmaceutical industry.
 
Mr. Rannazzisi offers his insights into the inter-workings of the Office of Diversion Control. As the department’s former leader, he was responsible for cracking down on doctors, pharmacies, drug manufacturers and distributors who did not follow the nation’s prescription drug laws. You may recall him from the 60 Minutes story titled “The Whistleblower” last fall.  
 
Greg is joined on this episode by guest, award winning investigative reporter, Pat Beall from the Palm Beach Post. Pat won Journalist of the Year for her work on The Post’s coverage of the heroin crisis, including profiles of the 216 people who died in 2015 from heroin-related overdoses, calculation of the cost of hospital care related to heroin treatment and a story linking Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to a fraudulent drug-screening company.
 
Listen to this podcast, the second in our 4 part series, for a behind the scenes look at who was behind law changes that helped fuel America’s opioid epidemic.
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 11:00

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 03/02/19

On December 19th, 2018, the Energy and Commerce Committee released a long awaited report titled “Red Flags and Warning Signs Ignored: Opioid Distribution and Enforcement Concerns in West Virginia”. The purpose of the report was to investigate allegations of “opioid dumping” in West Virginia. 
 
Today, we begin a 4-part series with Joseph Rannazzisi, who for over a decade, was the front man in the government’s battle against the opioid epidemic. Mr. Rannazzisi provides in-depth commentary on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s eye opening report, which, notably, is no longer available on the department’s website. 
 
Prior to the passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act in 2016, Mr. Rannazzisi warned congress that passage of the bill would cripple their ability to regulate rogue distributors who were dumping millions of opioids across the country. Today, you’ll hear Mr. Rannazzisi’s unfiltered comments on this game-changing piece of legislation. 
 
As head of the Office of Diversion Control for the Drug Enforcement Administration, he was responsible for cracking down on doctors, pharmacies, drug manufacturers and distributors who did not follow the nation’s prescription drug laws. You may recall him from the 60 Minutes story titled “The Whistleblower” last fall.  
 
Greg is joined on this episode by guest, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Eric Eyre. Mr. Eyre received the distinguished award for courageous reporting, performed in the face of powerful opposition, to expose the flood of opioids flowing into depressed West Virginia counties with the highest overdose death rates in the country.
 
For more on Mr. Eyre’s award winning work go to: https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/eric-eyre
 
Listen to this podcast to learn more about who was behind law changes that helped fuel America’s opioid epidemic.
Tuesday, 19 February 2019 11:01

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 02/23/19

We frame today’s podcast with Palm Beach Post reporters, John Pacenti and Pat Beall with a clip from the Insys Therapeutics rap video on the virtues of persuading doctors to prescribe higher doses of the company’s liquid opioid, Subsys. This week jurors in the Insys racketeering case in Boston heard the following lyrics from the company’s self-produced video; “I love titration. Yeah, it’s not a problem. I got new patients and I got a lot of ‘em”. That may be the most damning evidence against former executives of the company yet.
 
In this second part of our series, we continue our conversation on the deceptive sales practices pioneered by Purdue Pharma more than 20 years ago, and perpetuated by others in the industry. In 2007, Purdue Pharma executives pled guilty to misbranding and deceptive marketing but the charges were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors and they were sentenced to just 300 hours of community service, thanks in part to Rudy Giuliani. In January, the trial began for former executives of Insys Therapeutics for essentially the same deceptive sales practices Purdue Pharma pled guilty to 12 years earlier. Palm Beach Post reporter, John Pacenti describes a corrupt operation willing to do almost anything to induce physicians to overprescribe their product, Subsys Fentanyl spray. 
We close today’s podcast with more of the self-produced Insys rap video on the virtues of persuading doctors to prescribe higher doses of Subsys.  Go to Cover2.org to view the entire video featuring the company’s former director of sales, Alec Burlakoff, in a giant prescription bottle.
Thursday, 14 February 2019 09:12

Cover 2 Podcast: Week of 2/16/19

Back in January, the pharmaceutical trial of Insys Therapeutics and company founder, John Kapoor faced charges of racketeering. Allegedly, he and six former sales directors operated a scheme which paid bribes to physicians to prescribe the fentanyl spray SUBSYS, a high-powered opioid pain medication. Between 2012-2016, approximately 908 people overdosed and died due as a result of SUBSYS.
 
Unfortunately, this tale is all too familiar for some. Back in 2007, Perdue Pharma pled guilty to these same sales practices and yet, little has been done to prevent future cases. Many companies, such as Insys Therapeutics are using this same questionable marketing today. Greg recently met with John Pacenti and Pat Beall to discuss more on this story and how years later, many pharmaceutical companies are still using these age-old tactics to push dangerous prescriptions. Hear more on today’s podcast.
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