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經濟學人:美國成癮藥物濫用成災--成也阿片,敗也阿片(2)

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The company peddled theories of “pseudo-addiction” (for which the cure was said to be more opioids) and of “opiophobia” among sceptical doctors. The guardrails against harm buckled in the face of Purdue’s wealth and the lawyers and lobbyists it could buy. Regulators endorsed ludicrous claims about the drug’s safety. A serious case brought by federal prosecutors in Virginia in the early 2000s was watered down by the Department of Justice. Thousands of doctors were given all-expenses-paid trips. Altogether, OxyContin took in $35bn in sales.

普渡製藥公司向持懷疑態度的醫生散播“假性成癮”(據説治療方法是服用更多的阿片類藥物)和“阿片藥恐懼症”的理論。普渡製藥的財富以及它能夠收買的律師和説客讓防範危險的護欄垮了。監管機構認可了有關奧施康定安全性的荒唐説法。本世紀初,弗吉尼亞州聯邦檢察官提起的一起嚴重案件被司法部大事化了。普渡製藥還承擔了數千名醫生的全部旅行費用。奧施康定的總銷售額為350億美元。

The results were brutal. Other drug manufacturers soon followed Purdue’s lead. When OxyContin was reformulated in 2010 to make it more difficult to abuse, many Americans who were already addicted switched to heroin and, eventually, fentanyl. In 2019 a team of economists rigorously evaluating OxyContin’s impact concluded that its introduction and marketing “explain a substantial share of overdose deaths” over 20 years.

結果很殘酷。其他藥品生產商很快效仿了普渡製藥公司的做法。2010年,普渡製藥公司重新配製了奧施康定,使其更難濫用,許多已經上癮的美國人因此轉而使用海洛因,最終使用芬太尼。2019年,一個由經濟學家組成的團隊對奧施康定的影響進行了嚴格評估並得出結論:奧施康定的推出和銷售“能夠對20年來用藥過量致死中的相當一部分進行解釋”。

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Purdue is now the subject of many lawsuits brought by state and city governments. Sifting through the reams of evidence unearthed by court proceedings, Mr Keefe shows how callous some of the remaining Sacklers have been over the destruction wrought around them—blaming the problem on immoral addicts rather than the drug, and regarding themselves as victims of a media witch-hunt. Shiftless third-generation types are rendered with evident loathing, skilfully skewered by their own words in court or by Mr Keefe’s (anonymous) sources. One aspiring fashionista wishes an obstreperous journalist would focus less on her last name and more on the hoodies she designs.

普渡製藥現在仍面臨多個州和市政府提起的訴訟。通過篩選法庭訴訟中發現的大量證據,基夫先生展示了剩下的一些薩克勒家族成員在面對自己對周圍造成的破壞時是多麼冷酷無情,他們將問題歸咎於不道德的癮君子而不是毒品本身,並將自己視為遭受媒體政治迫害的受害者。無能的第三代薩克勒家族成員呈現出明顯的厭惡情緒,他們在法庭上巧妙地用自己的話或基夫先生(匿名)的消息來源歪曲事實。其中一位有抱負的時尚達人甚至希望專橫的記者能少關注自己的姓,多關注自己設計的連帽衫。

The company pleaded guilty to assorted federal charges over its handling of OxyContin in November 2020. No Sacklers, and no executives, were obliged to acknowledge guilt personally, however, “as if the corporation had acted autonomously, like a driverless car”, Mr Keefe observes. Still, the Sackler name is mud. Museums and universities refuse their money. The Sackler wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which houses an ancient Egyptian temple, was targeted by protesters chanting “Temple of greed! Temple of Oxy!” Purdue is bankrupt (and may not pay the retirement benefits of its salespeople).

普渡製藥公司在2020年11月承認了聯邦政府對其處理奧施康定的各種指控。然而,基夫觀察到,沒有薩克勒家族成員和普渡高管是被迫親自認罪,“就好像該公司是一輛無人駕駛汽車,都是自主的行動”。不過,薩克勒的名字已臭名昭著。博物館和大學拒絕他們的贈款。有一座古埃及神廟珍藏在大都會藝術博物館的薩克勒翼,抗議者們對着神廟高喊“貪婪神廟!奧施神廟!”普渡已經破產(可能不會支付其銷售人員的退休福利)。

Yet ongoing legal efforts to claw back the fortunes extracted by the owners appear unlikely to succeed. The implosion of the empire of pain, it seems, comes with a golden parachute.

然而,目前正在進行的,追回普渡製藥老闆所榨取的財富的法律努力似乎不太可能成功。痛苦帝國的坍塌似乎還伴隨着一個金色降落傘(規定員工如被解職即可獲得大筆補償金的聘約條款)。

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eventually [i'ventjuəli]

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adv. 終於,最後

 
immoral [i'mɔ:rəl]

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adj. 不道德的

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anonymous [ə'nɔniməs]

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adj. 匿名的,無名的,沒特色的

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overdose ['əuvədəus]

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n. 配藥量過多,過量 v. (使)服過量的藥

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shiftless ['ʃiftlis]

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adj. 無計謀的,不中用的,無能的

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implosion [im'pləuʒən]

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n. 向內破裂,內向壓擠,內爆發音

 
legal ['li:gəl]

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adj. 法律的,合法的,法定的

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evidence ['evidəns]

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n. 根據,證據
v. 證實,證明

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unlikely [ʌn'laikli]

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adj. 不太可能的

 
abuse [ə'bju:s,ə'bju:z]

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n. 濫用,惡習
vt. 濫用,辱罵,虐待

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