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Drugmakers quickly latched onto the letter, fueling the beginning of the opioid epidemic — to the point that the results have horrified one of the letter’s authors. “I’m essentially mortified that that letter to the editor was used as an excuse to do what these drug companies did,” Hershel Jick told the Associated Press. “They used this letter to spread the word that these drugs were not very addictive.”

Now a new study in the NEJM has looked at just how much of a reach the letter had.

Researchers Pamela Leung, Erin Macdonald, Irfan Dhalla, and David Juurlink found that the letter was cited more than 600 times since it was published, with a sharp increase after the opioid maker Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in the mid-1990s.

… Read More

Image via NEJM

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