Manufacturing Plant in RI is Becoming the Center of the Opioid Debate Across the U.S.

Friday, September 14, 2018


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Jonathan Sackler - his family is poised to profit from the new antidote. PHOTO: Sacred Heart

The billionaire family whose company is being sued by states and cities across the country for their role in creating the opioid crisis is now launching a new recently patented antidote for the drug known as ‘heroine in a pill.’

Both oxycodone and the new drug will be produced side-by-side at the Rhodes Technologies plant -- an affiliate company of Purdue Pharma -- in Coventry, Rhode Island.

The idea that the Sacklers, who have an estimated $14 billion net worth derived primarily from their ownership of Purdue Pharma, will be profiting by launching a new drug that will combat the impact of oxycontin is sparking anger by many who are working to combat the impact of the drugs and reverse the death toll tied to opioid abuse.

Emails to Purdue Pharma’s corporate communications office were not responded to.

Photographer and opioid crisis activist Nan Goldin in a statement to artnet News, said, “This is reprehensible and shows a lack of any moral conscience. Maybe they can patent a funeral parlor next.” The statement goes on to condemn Purdue, its owners—the billionaire Sackler family that has deep ties to the art world—and other drug makers for generating any profit from urgently needed anti-opioid treatments, demanding that they should be made available for free.

“It is evil to profit from deliberately making people sick, then selling them a ‘cure’ for their illness,” said the statement by Goldin and two other prominent activists.

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Rhodes Technologies plant in Coventry will produce both Oxy and the new antidote.

The U.S. Patent and Trademakr Office information shows the Rhodes Technologies’ plant in Coventry, RI is assigned the patent for the new drug.  Rhodes Technologies is the subsidiary of Purdue Pharma owned by the Sackler family.

Calls and emails to Rhodes Technologies and its affiliated marketing company Rhodes Pharma have not been responded to.

Purdue Pharma has been the focus of a number of exposés, including a major New Yorker investigation entitled, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,"

"The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and millions of addicts," wrote Patrick Radden Keefe for the publication. 

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that the death toll for drug overdoses reached a record 72,000 for 2017 — a ten percent increase over 2016.

Rhode Island’s Lawsuit

The state of Rhode Island is one of a group of states suing Purdue. Rhode Island’s suit alleges in part in a 108-page filing, “In 2015, Purdue reaped an estimated $2.4 billion in revenue, virtually all of it from opioids. Since its launch in 1996, OxyContin alone has generated $35 billion in sales.”

“Within Rhode Island, the age-adjusted overdose rate in 2015 of 28.2 per 100,000 people ranks fifth in the nation. From 2014-2015, Rhode Island experienced a 24% one-year change in overdose deaths, the third highest change in America. The rate of deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl ranked third in the nation in 2015. From 2011 to 2016, as well, Rhode Island saw a 303% increase in overdose fatalities,” claims the lawsuit.

And, the State of Rhode Island alleges that, “Purdue not only marketed opioids for chronic pain conditions, but also targeted primary care physicians (along with nurse practitioners and physician assistants), who were most likely to see patients with chronic pain conditions and least likely to have the training and experience to evaluate both Defendants' marketing and patients' pain conditions.”

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Patent was awarded in January.

The New Antidote

According to documents filed with the United State Patent office, Buprenorphine-wafer for drug substitution therapy is assigned to the Coventry plant.


The present invention relates to oral pharmaceutical dosage forms comprising buprenorphine with the dosage form releasing buprenorphine instantly upon oral, preferably sublingual, application of the dosage form. The present invention also relates to the use of such dosage forms for treating pain in a human or animal or for drug substitution therapy in drug-dependent human subjects.


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