In March 2019, facing an estimated 2,600 lawsuits1,2 relating to its role in creating the opioid epidemic, Purdue Pharma — the maker of OxyContin — announced the company was considering filing for bankruptcy protection.

Around that same time, New York expanded its lawsuit against the company to include allegations that company funds had been fraudulently transferred into trusts and offshore accounts owned by members of the Sackler family in an effort to shield assets from litigation.3,4 In all, court documents reveal the Sacklers transferred more than $10 billion of the company’s funds into family trusts.5

How this does not fall under the fraudulent conveyance statutes, which is attempting to avoid a debt by moving assets to another person or legal entity, boggles my mind. It appears the only reason they got away with this is they found the loophole of transferring their assets offshore.

The New York complaint also charged Purdue with secretly setting up a new company, Rhodes Pharma, in 2007 while the company was being investigated by federal prosecutors, as a way to protect the Sacklers from the mounting OxyContin crisis and continue their profit scheme.6 Rhodes Pharma makes generic opioids, allowing the Sacklers to benefit from the opioid epidemic both in terms of brand name sales and generic sales.7

Rhodes Pharma and Richard Sackler also hold the patent to a new, faster-dissolving form of buprenorphine, a mild opioid drug used in the treatment of opioid addiction,8 allowing the Sacklers to further profit from the addiction crisis they helped instigate, the economic burden of which is costing the U.S. an estimated $504 billion a year.9

Indeed, according to a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts,10 Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers sought to increase opioid prescriptions while simultaneously developing overdose treatment to boost its profits.

US Government Enters Opioid Business

Purdue finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019.11 At the end of October 2020, Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges relating to its role in the opioid crisis, including violating a federal anti-kickback law, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.12,13

To settle the charges, Purdue is supposed to pay $8.3 billion in fines, forfeiture of past profits and civil liability payments.14 However, the company doesn’t have enough cash to cover the payments so, instead, Purdue Pharma will be dissolved, and its assets used to erect a “public benefit company,” in other words, a government-owned and controlled drug company.

The estimated financial cost of opioid addiction and death in the U.S. was $504 billion in 2015. In addition to health care costs, criminal justice costs and lost productivity due to addiction or incarceration, this figure also takes into account projected lost earnings and the value of statistical life for people who died prematurely.

This new company will reportedly be controlled by a trust that will “balance the trust’s interests against those of the American public and public health.”15 Future earnings from this public benefit company will be used to pay off the $8.3 billion penalty, which in turn is supposed to be used to combat the opioid crisis.

This is a remarkable development, and one wonders just how functional this setup is going to be. In essence, the government will now be in the business of making and selling opioids, the profits from which will then be used to combat opioid addiction. It seems like a circular and rather illogical setup. According to CNN:16

“Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who announced the settlement, defended the plans for the new company to continue to sell that drug, saying there are legitimate uses for painkillers such as OxyContin.”

Sackler Family Walk Away Scot-Free, Again

The Sackler family, meanwhile, have reached a separate settlement in which they will pay $225 million in civil liability for causing false claims about OxyContin to be made to Medicare and other government health care programs.17

While the agreement does not release the Sacklers from potential criminal liability, it seems the family will walk away scot-free. And, considering they already transferred some $10 billion into their family trusts, the $225 million fine is a very small fraction, so they won’t end up wanting financially either.

Proving they have no remorse, Sackler family members, in a recent statement, shifted blame for the company’s illegal activities on its managers, saying they “relied on management assertions the company acted lawfully.”18 This, even though several Sackler family members sat on the company board and were intimately familiar with the company’s marketing strategy.

It’s unclear whether this DOJ agreement affects or includes the Sacklers’ other opioid company, Rhodes Pharmaceuticals. If not, it falls short in that respect too, since they would then be able to continue their opioid business. Between 2009 and 2016, Rhodes’ market share of opioid sales actually exceeded that of Purdue itself.19

Aside from Purdue and Rhodes, the Sacklers have also profited from Napp Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge-based drug company that manufactures — you guessed it — opioids.20 In 2018, seven family members resigned from their directors’ posts at Napp following a string of bad publicity relating to alleged tax evasion schemes.

Mortimer Sackler, since deceased, was found to have avoided paying income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance taxes in the U.K. by falsely claiming non-domiciled status. The family was also accused of using a Bermuda-based company to avoid paying corporate taxes for Napp Pharmaceuticals.21

Penalties Still Won’t Cover States’ Claims

Even though $8.3 billion is a record-breaking settlement, states have filed claims exceeding $2 trillion in Purdue’s bankruptcy case, and according to a November 2017 report22 by the White House Council on Economic Advisers, the estimated financial cost of opioid addiction and death in the U.S. was $504 billion in 2015.

In addition to health care costs, criminal justice costs and lost productivity due to addiction or incarceration, this figure also takes into account projected lost earnings and the value of statistical life for people who died prematurely.

In response to the Justice Department’s settlement with Purdue Pharma, 25 state attorneys general sent a letter23 to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in which they object to the settlement and argue against the government getting involved in the opioid business. The letter, dated October 14, 2020, reads in part:24

“We write to ask you to revise a proposed DOJ settlement agreement that reportedly would wrongly mandate that Purdue Pharma’s infamous OxyContin business be preserved as a public trust.

A business that killed thousands of Americans should not be associated with government. Instead, the business should be sold to private owners, so the government can enforce the law against it with the same impartiality as for any other company …

The role of government in any OxyContin business should be to enforce the law, just as against any other company. The public deserves assurance that no opioid business is given the special protection of being placed under a public umbrella.

Although it may take time to find a private sector buyer, the public should be confident that public officials are seeking to avoid having special ties to an opioid company, conflicts of interest, or mixed motives in an industry that caused a national crisis.”

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong also told CNN:25

“This settlement provides a mere mirage of justice for the victims of Purdue’s callous misconduct. The federal government had the power here to put the Sacklers in jail, and they didn’t. Instead, they took fines and penalties that Purdue likely will never fully pay.

Every dollar paid here is one dollar less for states like Connecticut trying to maximize money from Purdue and the Sacklers to abate the opioid epidemic. Preserving Purdue’s ability to continue selling opioids as a public benefit corporation is simply unacceptable.”

How Purdue Launched and Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

In previous articles, I’ve discussed the role false advertising played in the creation of the opioid crisis.26 To recap, a single paragraph in a 1980 letter to the editor27,28 (not a study) in The New England Journal of Medicine — which stated that narcotic addiction in patients with no history of addiction was very rare — became the basis of a drug marketing campaign that has since led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people.

Purdue Pharma used this letter to the editor as the basis for its claim that opioid addiction affects less than 1% of patients treated with the drugs. In reality, opioids have a very high rate of addiction and have not been proven effective for long-term use.29

Research30 published in 2018 also shows opioids (including morphine, Vicodin, oxycodone and fentanyl) fail to control moderate to severe pain any better than over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen.

Various court cases have demonstrated how Purdue systematically misled doctors about OxyContin’s addictiveness to drive up sales. The inevitable result of Purdue Pharma’s ruthless and immoral marketing campaign has been skyrocketing opioid addiction, which killed 46,802 Americans in 2018 alone.31

Adding insult to injury, when it became clear that people were dying in droves from opioid overdoses, Purdue launched an extensive damage-control operation that included the suggestion that those dying from opioids were already addicts, and that this wouldn’t happen to patients who were not already addicted to drugs. The company also sought to cash in on the rising addiction trend twice by getting into the business of creating overdose treatments.

Opioid Misuse Paves Way for Heroin Addiction

Perhaps most egregious of all has been the reckless prescribing of opioids to young people. Here, dentists have been a major part of the problem, as opioids are frequently prescribed when extracting wisdom teeth.

Insurance claims data from 2016 and 2017 reveal 60% of children between the ages of 1 and 18 with private insurance filled one or more opioid prescriptions after surgical tonsil removal,32,33 and dentists wrote a staggering 18.1 million prescriptions for opioids in 2017.34

As noted by Ronnie Cohen in a March 2019 article35 in The Washington Post, “until recently, dentists seemed to have had no idea they may have been helping to feed an epidemic that resulted in a record 70,237 U.S. drug overdose deaths in 2017.”36

But contribute they have, and according to data37 from the University of Michigan, 31.8%, or just over 1 in 3 people who misused opioids during their high school years ended up using heroin by age 35. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse also confirms that prescription opioid use is a significant risk factor for subsequent heroin use:38

Incidence of heroin use was 19 times higher among those who had used opioids nonmedically than among those who had not used an opioid
86% of young, urban injection drug users had used opioid pain relievers nonmedically before starting heroin. The three primary sources of opioids were family, friends and personal prescriptions. This is the reverse trend from the 1960, when more than 80% of those who started abusing opioids had started with heroin
Of those who began abusing opioids in the 2000s, 75% reported that their first opioid was a prescription drug
Nearly 80% of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin

Struggling With Opioid Addiction? Please Seek Help

Regardless of the brand of opioid, it’s important to realize they are extremely addictive drugs and not meant for long-term use for nonfatal conditions. Chemically, opioids are similar to heroin, so if you wouldn’t consider shooting up heroin for a toothache or backache, seriously reconsider taking an opioid to relieve this type of pain.

The misconception that opioids are harmless pain relievers has killed hundreds of thousands, and destroyed the lives of countless more. In many cases, you’ll be able to control pain without using medications.

In my previous article, “Billionaire Opioid Executive Stands to Make Millions More on Patent for Addiction Treatment,” I discuss several approaches — including nondrug remedies, dietary changes and bodywork interventions — that can be used separately or in combination to control pain, both acute and chronic.

If you’ve been on an opioid for more than two months, or if you find yourself taking a higher dosage or taking the drug more often than you initially did, you may already be addicted. Resources where you can find help include the following.

Your workplace Employee Assistance Program
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration39 can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1-800-622-HELP

You can also learn more in “How to Wean Off Opioids.” I also recommend keeping an eye out for my upcoming article about how low dose naltrexone (LDN), an opioid antagonist, is being used at ultra-low micro doses of 1 microgram to successfully treat opioid addiction.

Original Source: articles.mercola.com

As the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) prepares to host the three-day, three-night Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination that will be broadcast online October 16 through 18, 2020, the theme we have chosen is “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century,” because at no time in modern history has it been more important for all of us to take a stand and do just that.

This year, the orchestrated actions by governments around the world to restrict or eliminate civil liberties in response to the emergence of a new coronavirus has been unprecedented, and has had profound effects on the global economy and on the physical, mental and emotional health of billions of people.1

By mid-September 2020, there were about 29 million cases of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) reported worldwide with about 925,000 associated deaths.

The United States, the third most populated country in the world at 330 million people, had recorded over 7 million cases and 198,000 deaths, with an estimated 598 deaths per million people, which is a higher death rate per million people than Sweden,2 where health officials have refused to order masking or lock down the country and allowed the population to acquire natural herd immunity to the virus.3,4

Overall COVID-19 Mortality Is Less Than 1%

According to the World Health Organization, the overall infection mortality rate for the new SARS coronavirus causing COVID-19 is about 0.6%,5 although some scientists say it is lower,6 while others estimate it can be as high as 1 to 2% in some parts of the world.7

Compared to Ebola with a 50% mortality rate8 or smallpox that killed 30%,9 or tuberculosis that still is a deadly disease killing 20% to 70%,10 or diphtheria at 5% to 10%,11 or the 1918 influenza pandemic with a 2.5% mortality rate,12 COVID-19 is near the bottom of the infectious diseases mortality scale with a less than 1% mortality rate in most countries.

Those at highest risk for complications and death include the elderly and those with one or more poor health conditions.13

The CDC recently reported that only 6% of COVID-19-related deaths were solely due to coronavirus infection and 94% of the people who died also had influenza or pneumonia; heart, lung or kidney disease; high blood pressure; diabetes, or another underlying poor health condition.14 Most studies suggest it is rare for children to suffer complications and die from COVID-19.15

But seven months after the World Health Organization (WHO)16 declared a coronavirus pandemic,17 and public health officials persuaded lawmakers to turn the world upside down, a lot of people are asking questions and so are doctors who disagree with each other about the facts. Questions like:

Where did the new respiratory virus come from?

The most popular narratives about the mutated coronavirus is that it either jumped out of a bat or another animal in a Chinese wet food market18,19 or escaped out of a biohazard lab in 2019,20,21 but scientists continue to argue about which scenario is more likely.22 And this question:

If I wear a cloth facemask, does it really prevent me from getting infected with or transmitting COVID-19?

There is an ongoing debate in the medical community about whether it is a good idea for all healthy children and adults to wear cloth masks when they leave their home.23 In March 2020, the U.S. Surgeon General ordered the American public to stop buying and wearing masks because “they are not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus”24 and “actually can increase the spread of coronavirus,” which was the position of the World Health Organization.25

But in April, the CDC walked back its “do not mask” order and urged all healthy Americans to voluntarily wear homemade cloth face coverings when entering public spaces.26

In June, the WHO was continuing to say that, “At the present time, the widespread use of masks everywhere is not supported by high-quality scientific evidence, and there are potential benefits and harms to consider … Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19.”27

But by June, a number of state Governors and local governments had mandated facemask wearing and an epidemic of mask shaming had begun,28,29 which led to public protests against masking mandates.30 In August, the CDC doubled down and expanded face masking directives to include all children over the age of 2,31 while the WHO warned that children under the age of 6 should not wear masks but children over age 12 should.32

So, confusion reigns. While some scientists are saying that if all healthy people are forced to wear face masks it will not stop the coronavirus pandemic and gives a dangerous and false illusion of safety,33 other scientists are demonizing the refusers, alleging that people refusing to mask up are “sociopathic” and have lower levels of empathy.34

About 30 U.S. states require masking for young children and adults who enter public spaces,35 and some states are leveling steep fines of up to $1,000 or threatening jail time for anyone who fails to comply.36

Washington state has made not wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor crime37 and central Texas officials say they wish they could put people in prison for refusing to wear a mask.38 More than 50 countries in the world now require people to cover their faces when they leave home and some do fine and imprison people who go outside without wearing a mask.39

So, what about getting tested for COVID-19? The CDC says that people should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the infection. There is also an antibody test to identify whether or not you have been infected in the past.40 But lab tests are not always reliable and people are asking this logical question:

If I get a lab test, will it accurately identify if I am currently infected or have been infected with COVID-19 in the past?

Unfortunately, it’s not clear how accurate any of the tests are, especially the antibody test for past infection because the presence of antibodies may not be the only way to measure immunity.41 The best guess is that the range of reported false negative results for the nasal swab test is between 2% and 50%, and the reported false negative results for the antibody blood test is up to 30%, depending upon when during or after the infection testing is performed.42

In July, a state lab in Connecticut admitted that 90 out of 144 people tested during a 30-day period — most of them nursing home residents — were inaccurately informed they were infected because of faulty, false positive lab tests.43 In August, 77 football players in the National Football League were given false positive test results when, after retesting, all the tests came back negative.44 People are also wondering what happens after they get COVID-19, asking this question:

If I recover from COVID-19 will I only get temporary immunity or will I have long-term immunity against reinfection?

The CDC says it is unknown how long immunity lasts or whether you can get the new coronavirus infection twice.45 However, last spring researchers found that out of 68 uninfected persons, the blood from one third of them contained helper T-cells that recognized the mutated SARS coronavirus.

They concluded the presence of these defensive helper T cells gives evidence for some residual immunity that may have been produced after common cold infections caused by other types of coronaviruses. This, the scientists said, “bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity.”46

Another important study was published in the medical literature in August providing evidence for robust memory T cell immune responses in people who had recovered from even mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, but had no detectable virus-specific antibodies.47

If people can have strong immune responses without symptoms and traditional antibody tests for proof of immunity don’t apply to COVID-19, public health officials may be underestimating the extent of population-level herd immunity that already exists in the U.S., where there have been more cases reported than anywhere else.

COVID-19 Public Health Laws a Public Relations Disaster

While doctors debate the science, it is becoming clearer that the response to the new coronavirus infection by government health officials has been a public relations disaster. The anxiety, fear and chaos created by regulations instituted by most governments after the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic this year has torn the fabric of societies and affected public opinion about public health laws and vaccination.48

Now the people are being told that there is one — and only one — simple solution to resolving the crisis and getting back to normal: that is, the only way we can take off our masks and touch, hug, kiss or come close to each other again49,50,51,52,53,54 is for every person living in every country to get injected with one of the liability-free COVID-19 vaccines being fast tracked to market.55,56,57,58,59

Governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits when COVID-19 vaccines injure or kill people. The hard sell is on, but a lot of people are NOT buying it. Every poll taken this year has revealed that between 40% and 70% of people living in the U.S. and Europe do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is licensed.

In April, WHO officials at the United Nations launched a global initiative “to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” proclaiming that “no one is safe until everyone is safe.”60 By May, they were warning that if every person in the world doesn’t get injected with a COVID-19 vaccination, the virus “may never go away.”61 

The WHO,62 U.S. government63,64,65,66 and lawmakers in the European Union,67 along with wealthy and politically powerful nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) like the Gates Foundation,68,69,70 GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance,71 and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)72 have given the pharmaceutical industry tens of billions of dollars to develop and fast-track experimental coronavirus vaccines to market and promote their universal use.73,74

At the same time, governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits when COVID-19 vaccines injure or kill people.75,76 The hard sell is on, but a lot of people are NOT buying it.

People Are Rejecting the COVID-19 Vaccine Sales Pitch

Every poll taken this year has revealed that between 40% and 70% of people living in the U.S. and Europe do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is licensed.77,78,79,80,81,82 Populations in developed countries are resisting the siren call for “solidarity,” as doubt about COVID-19 vaccines is becoming more common in developing counties, too.83

The pushback by a wary public has taken government officials by surprise. Apparently, they were banking that the economic and social deprivation, fear and chaos surrounding lockdowns would produce a bull market for experimental mRNA and DNA COVID-19 vaccines using technology that never has been licensed for humans.84

It is widely acknowledged now that a solid two-thirds of Americans or more will “just say no” to getting injected with a vaccine containing lab altered parts of a new coronavirus that scientists admit they still don’t know much about,85 vaccines that preliminary clinical trials have revealed may well cause more than just a few minor reactions.86 

A frustrated top U.S. health official has name-called Americans who refuse to go along with public health policies and laws, calling them “anti-science” and “anti-authority.”87,88 The truth is, people in this country and many others just don’t have confidence in the quality and quantity of the science or government health officials they are being told to trust.89

Angry that a growing number of people are reluctant to roll up their sleeves for a vaccine that is being rushed to market at “warp speed,” public health officials,90 billionaire Silicon Valley technocrats,91,92,93 doctors, attorneys and bioethics professors94,95,96,97,98 and politicians99 are beating the drum for swift enactment of “no exceptions” mandatory vaccination laws as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are licensed.100

Already, some cheerleaders at leading universities are banging that drum for approving and using experimental COVID-19 vaccines even before testing is done,101 and are calling for young, healthy people to be the first to get the vaccine because it is their “civic duty” to protect everyone else.102

They warn that “herd immunity may not be achieved if people refuse to take the coronavirus vaccine,”103,104 and say that, in order to keep society “safe,” laws must be passed to threaten and coerce you and your minor children to get vaccinated or face crippling social sanctions that will effectively take away your liberty and destroy your life.105

People in US and Other Nations Rise to Defend Freedom

This summer, huge public demonstrations defending freedom in Berlin,106 London,107 Paris108 and Copenhagen saw tens of thousands of citizens gather to protest masking109 and other oppressive coronavirus lockdown policies, which have severely restricted normal physical contact between people, caused widespread unemployment,110 and harmed their physical, mental and emotional health.111

Like in Europe, people living in Canada,112 Australia113,114 and New Zealand115 also are resisting months of social distancing policies that have eliminated fundamental human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

The U.S. has seen similar but smaller public demonstrations opposing forced masking, social distancing and lockdown laws and defending freedom in Virginia,116 Pennsylvania,117 Wisconsin,118 Michigan,119 California120 and other states, as record numbers of Americans struggle with unemployment,121,122 the destruction of small middle class businesses,123 mortgage defaults124 and bankruptcy filings;125 steep increases in anxiety and depression,126,127 drug and alcohol addiction,128 child and spousal abuse,129 and divorce.130

Social Sanctions for Failure to Get Vaccinated May Align With Lockdown Sanctions

The punishing social sanctions being talked about if you refuse a COVID-19 vaccination are likely to be enforced using government-operated electronic tracking systems linked to digital “immunity passports” that require you to “prove” you are immune to the new SARS coronavirus before you are allowed to work in an office building or enter other public spaces.131,132,133,134

These social sanctions for failure to vaccinate may closely resemble the types of social interaction restrictions enforced in the U.S. and other countries over the past year.

In the U.S., most public health laws, including vaccine laws, are enacted by the states,135 while the federal government makes vaccine use recommendations and can mandate vaccines for people crossing national or state borders. Local city and county governments also can impose their own public health regulations.136 That is why some states and cities have seen very restrictive COVID-19 pandemic masking137 and lockdown regulations138 and others have been more open.139

So, whether or not you will be punished for refusing to get a COVID-19 shot next year primarily will be determined by your state’s governor and the representatives who have been elected to make laws in your state capitol.140

Depending upon where you live and the political philosophy of the majority of representatives in your state legislature, after the COVID-19 vaccine is licensed by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the CDC for use by all children and adults,141 if you refuse to get a COVID-19 shot, you could be blocked from:142

Being employed and going to work in an office

Getting an education

Obtaining a driver’s license or passport

Boarding a train or other public transportation

Attending a sports game or concert

Entering a store, restaurant, bar, coffee shop or nail salon

Booking an appointment with a doctor

And you could be prohibited from checking into a hospital for surgery, or visiting a family member in a nursing home, or blocked from obtaining private health insurance and Medicaid or Medicare.

In other words, if you refuse to get a coronavirus vaccination, you could be subjected to the kinds of punitive social sanctions I have been predicting and publicly warned about since 1997,143,144,145,146 sanctions that are already being applied to Americans who decline to get or give their children dozens of doses of CDC “recommended” liability-free vaccines147 and already are being denied an education, medical care and employment.148,149

Broken Promises Leads to Broken Trust

Doctors and public health officials wondering why people don’t trust what they say about infectious diseases and vaccination, including coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, only have to look in the mirror to answer the question.

Since 1982, parents of vaccine injured children have been begging doctors to do the kind of science that will explain why so many highly-vaccinated children, who don’t get measles or chicken pox anymore, are stuck on sick and suffering with brain and autoimmune disorders that never go away.150 For four decades, we have been asking doctors and government health officials to stop sweeping casualties of inhumane one-size-fits all vaccine policies, under the rug.151

What we get from medical professors in universities receiving lots of money from the government and pharmaceutical companies, and from doctors developing vaccines, and from public health officials pushing “no exceptions” vaccination policies are threats, name-calling, bullying and punishment if we try to exercise informed consent to vaccination.152,153,154 There is no other word for it but abuse.

They order us to obey them but refuse to take responsibility for what happens when we obey the orders they give. They expect us to trust them and refuse to care about the victims of vaccination when the benefits do not outweigh the risks.

Instead, they act to protect the power and profit-making of their business partners: the pharmaceutical industry, medical trade associations, multinational media corporations and Silicon Valley billionaires, and leave vaccine victims to take care of themselves. What’s trust got to do with it?

Broken trust has everything to do with why the majority of people in the U.S. and Europe do not want to roll the dice and find out whether the odds of surviving a COVID-19 vaccination are in their favor.

It is during this extraordinary time of great challenge and opportunity that NVIC is sponsoring the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination. Our conference will create an expanded base of knowledge about vaccine science, policy, law and ethics brought to you by more than 40 distinguished speakers, who will empower you with information you need to become an effective vaccine freedom advocate.

Go to NVIC.org and register today for this historic conference celebrating freedom of thought, speech and conscience and gain permanent online access to this valuable video library of information. It’s your health, your family, your choice. And our mission continues: No forced vaccination, not in America.

Original Source: articles.mercola.com

cannabis litigation

On August 5th, Harris Bricken attorneys Griffen Thorne, Jihee Ahn and Jesse Mondry presented a webinar entitled Cannabis Litigation – Trends And Q&A. If you missed the live webinar, we will publish a replay tomorrow here on the blog.

The webinar was well attended, and we received numerous questions from the audience. In this post, I respond to a few questions we did not have time to answer.

Can you speak about requesting information from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission through a FOIA request? What is the procedure? What types of information can be requested? Sales data? Employee data?

A wide variety of records are available from the OLCC. Under Oregon’s Public Records Law, “every person” has a right to inspect any nonexempt public record of a public body in Oregon. See ORS 192.410 – 192.505. This right extends to any natural person, any corporation, partnership, firm or association. The law is similar to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in some ways, but is a separate law, with its own provisions. So when making a request, don’t refer to it as an FOIA requests. The law favors disclosure, but the OLCC must be careful not to release sensitive information – e.g. social security numbers, bank account numbers, and so forth.

Typically, the OLCC receives requests from licensees or attorneys following the issuance of charging document. But the law does not require the records request be tied to a pending administrative matter. Responding to these requests may impose a significant burden for overworked and underpaid OLCC staff. So responses may take time and the OLCC may charge fees for responding to public records requests. Making a request is straightforward. The OLCC has a webpage with instructions that explains how to do so and what fees may apply.

With regard to membership and partnership disputes, is there anything especially different about litigating disputes in the cannabis industry? Do you have any practical advice about how to bring these cases to a swift resolution?

Litigating membership and partnership disputes in the cannabis industry is much like any other industry. But there are a few quirks.

When a partner or member decides to leave the business, one of the first questions is: What is that person’s interest in the business worth? Cannabis businesses present different considerations in terms of the marketability of an interest. This is because of licensing requirements, IRC §  280E, lack of access to financing and banking, insurance risks and costs, and the overarching problem that marijuana is a schedule I controlled substance.

Another difference is that most states require tracking marijuana products to the gram gram through tools such as METRC. Access to this information can provide non-managing or minority interest holders a powerful tool in the event a forensic accounting becomes necessary. On the other hand, dispensaries operate on a cash-only business on the retail side, which can make an accounting difficult.

A final significant concern is whether the facts and issues of the partnership/membership dispute concern violations of the state regulatory scheme. It may not be in the best interest of the business (or its owners) to engage in a public lawsuit that concerns allegations of financial fraud, diversion into the illegal market, hidden investors or investments, and so on. These kinds of facts may result in the business losing its ability to operate in the cannabis industry and leave the owners with letters of reprimand in their files that restrict their ability to operate in the industry in the future.

As far as ending disputes quickly, the best advice I can give is to thoroughly paper everything. By this mean cannabis businesses should hire transactional lawyers with expertise in cannabis at the outset of any business venture as well as to review contracts and deals throughout the life of the business.

Could you talk about class action litigation trends in cannabis and CBD

We spoke about this during the webinar, but one concept that was not addressed was the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. This is a doctrine increasingly used, and with increasing success, by defendants in CBD class actions. The basic concept is that courts may stay (pause) litigation when the claims involve issues that fall within the special competence of an administrative agency. In such cases, courts may wait for the agency to issue rules or guidance that may substantially affect the outcome of the case. The primary jurisdiction doctrine, then, is a form of judicial abstention. See Litigation Update: Who Decides Whether You Can Ship Hemp Through Idaho? and The Rise of Cannabis Litigation Against Foreign Entities – Where Will You Litigate?

Our colleague, Nathalie Bougenies, has also written on this topic and it is one worth watching

Hemp-CBD: More Federal Courts Stay CBD Cases Until the FDA Issues Regulations
Patchwork Of Judicial Decisions Exacerbates Confusion On Legality Of CBD Products

Thanks to everyone who attended.  Please note that our next FREE Q & A webinar is Thursday, September 17, 2020 from 12pm to 1pm PDT, during which our transactional hemp attorneys will field questions on all aspects of hemp and CBD. Register is available for that one here.

We will be back tomorrow with a replay of Cannabis Litigation Q&A webinar, as well.

The post Cannabis Litigation Q&A Webinar – A Few More Questions and Answers appeared first on Harris Bricken.

Original Source: harrisbricken.com

Could a UK heatwave exacerbate the coronavirus crisis?

‘A heatwave coupled with a second wave of Covid-19 infections would put enormous strain on our already overburdened doctors, nurses and other key workers’

A great many frailties, structural problems, and inequalities sitting right at the heart of the economy have been exposed by the coronavirus crisis.

The pandemic has, for example, shone a light on the importance of undervalued work such as waste and recycling collections to the day-to-day functioning of society. Some supply chains have been stretched to breaking point, having been severely hit in some quarters by labour and ingredient shortages. The dramatic decline in demand for oil products as lockdown measures kicked in around the world has brutally exposed the dangers of making fossil fuels the global economy’s most influential commodity. And, most impactful of all, the uneven death rates for different communities and the wide range of lockdown experiences have highlighted deeply entrenched social and racial inequalities.

Now, as spring moves into summer in the northern hemisphere, there look to be further challenges ahead which threaten to expose yet more societal fault lines and vulnerabilities as climate impacts escalate.

On a global level 2020 is expected to be the hottest year since records began, and as summer gets underway a number of heatwaves are already being recorded around the world, including in India, Siberia, and the US. Meanwhile, hurricane season is getting underway. Poorer nations with less advanced infrastructure and more vulnerable food systems as ever face the worst climate risks, just as they are at risk from the rapid spread of pandemics.

And richer nations are far from immune from these impacts. The UK has, after all, just experienced its driest May since records began, the Met Office confirmed on Friday, and the National Farmers’ Union has already expressed concern at “worrying dry weather challenges” harming crops. All this comes just weeks after record rainfall and devastating floods in February. The contrast and volatility in weather patterns, which bears many of the hallmarks of climate change, has astounded scientists.

Lest we forget, last summer’s heatwaves across Europe – made five times more likely to occur as a result of climate change – were estimated to have caused an additional 900 deaths in the UK, according to by Public Health England (PHE). And this year, faced with millions of people either furloughed or working from home, and monumental efforts being made to protect frontline NHS services from being overwhelmed by the influx of Covid-19 patients, experts are today warning that a UK heatwave in 2020 could be even more dangerous. It remains a tragic fact that hundreds are still dying every day in the UK from the pandemic, and as summer gets underway, hundreds more could lose their lives if temperatures rise too high for sustained periods this summer.

“After the driest May on record, older people and other vulnerable populations may be at risk from the often deadly heat waves we increasingly see each summer, often exacerbated by climate change,” said Dr Nick Watts, executive director of the Lancet Countdown, which monitors the links between climate change and public health. He is among a number of experts from the likes of Christian Aid, UNICEF, and others warning today that volatile summer weather impacts exacerbated by climate change could undermine attempts to keep the pandemic under control.

A sustained period of high temperatures in the UK could put the NHS under serious pressure, warned Watts, who called for a greater focus on building climate resilience into UK infrastructure and services going forward. “A heatwave coupled with a second wave of Covid-19 infections would put enormous strain on our already overburdened doctors, nurses and other key workers,” he said. “It is clear that rapid emissions reductions are required, alongside further investment in health systems and a range of adaptation measures that will protect against future extremes of weather as well as future pandemics.” 

It has long been known that, as weather increasingly veers between extremes in the UK – characterised by higher chances of cold snaps and flooding in the winter, and extreme heat in the summer – UK buildings and infrastructure are woefully ill-prepared. The UK’s Green Building Council has called for all buildings and infrastructure to be made climate resilient by 2030. Recent analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) found that, if lockdown measures extended into the winter months in the UK, it could exacerbate already rife fuel poverty. Families living in the draughtiest homes, it estimated, could end up having to shell out roughly £50 more on their energy bills each month just to keep warm at home during the day.

Meanwhile, the government has commissioned an independent, six month review of flood insurance provision in the UK, following devastating floods across many parts of the North of England earlier this year. Conservative think tank Bright Blue has estimated even 70,000 newly-built homes in the UK are at risk of being denied flood insurance in future, having been built in floor-prone areas of England.

And this coming summer, on top of the aforementioned public health risks highlighted by Watts, searing temperatures again risk public transport being brought to a standstill as well as overheated homes, schools, workplaces, and hospitals which remain ill-equipped for keeping occupants cool. Since 2015 the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended new building recommendations are adopted in order to help guard against overheating, warning that without action the number of people dying in the UK as a result of heat could reach 7,000 a year by 2040.  

All totted up, it is perhaps understandable that chair of the CCC, Lord Deben, last year bemoaned the UK’s preparations for such worsening climate impacts as akin to the notoriously ramshackle organisation of characters in the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army.

For its part, PHE yesterday launched its ‘Heatwave and Summer preparedness programme for England’ in a bid to raise public and professional awareness of the health impacts of hot weather. It warns that many of those who are at risk of harm from heat are also at greater risk of severe illness due to Covid-19, and urges the public and employers to take early precautions against these risks.

“The harm to health associated with high temperatures is not inevitable, there are things we can all do to minimise the impact of hot weather on human health,” PHE said in a statement. “Hot weather can happen with little warning and illness and deaths occur within the first couple of days. By the time hot weather arrives, the window of opportunity for effective action is often very short indeed. This means that advanced and long-term planning and preparedness are essential.”

Nevertheless, while it is PHE’s job to manage the health impacts in the immediate term, preventative action is clearly also needed at an infrastructure level to tackle long term risks, and that must take the form of renovating and upgrading homes and offices, and building more resilience into infrastructure and supply chains. That is one of many reasons why the National Infrastructure Commission last week unleashed a wide-ranging report calling on the UK to bolster its resilience efforts in the face of mounting risks from climate impacts and unanticipated shocks such as pandemics.

But if the coronavirus crisis has exposed vulnerabilities at the heart of the economy, it has also demonstrated the remarkable versatility of businesses, policymakers, and citizens to rapidly adapt, and in some cases potentially spurring longer term positive changes. As Britons eschew public transport in large numbers over safety concerns, roads have been widened and closed off to cars in cities such as London, where air pollution has dropped and bike use has shot up. Many businesses have been forced to coordinate their services and workforces entirely remotely, with staff working from home more or less full time and managing their tasks via video meetings and email.

There are positive signs that the current crisis could accelerate efforts to bolster adaptation and resilience, too, with these two key issues at the heart of a letter from more than 200 major businesses yesterday calling on the UK government for a green recovery. The government appears to have broadly welcomed the calls for a green recovery and is reportedly working on plans for a wide-ranging stimulus package that is expected to focus on clean infrastructure. Moreover, Ministers recently re-confirmed a Conservative Party manifesto promise to allocate £9bn of support over the next few years to boosting energy efficiency and shifting to low carbon heating systems. Hopes will now be high that July’s economic recovery package prioritises support for building renovation and infrastructure resilience against, extreme heat, cold, and flooding.

But time is ticking away, and this summer may bring with it weather that highlight just how urgently the UK – and indeed most of the world – needs to prepare for the escalating climate crisis, further exacerbating the threat posed by the current coronavirus crisis in the process. Boris Johnson may have pledged to “build back better”, but the UK also needs to build back stronger.

Original Source: businessgreen.com

 

Economic health researcher Katherine Baicker says in the case of contagious diseases like coronavirus, it improves the health of the entire community if everyone else has access to healthcare. 
Baicker says the lack of coordination within the US healthcare system has exacerbated shortages because resources cannot be moved to where they are needed when they are needed. Instead, states and hospitals are bidding against each other, she says. 
The US healthcare and health insurance systems are really a patchwork of different programs, which creates gaps and expensive inefficiencies, according to Baicker. 
Baicker says, “This epidemic is highlighting not only shortcomings in our patchwork insurance system but also a lack of public health surveillance that would let us identify and treat early, as early as possible, a potential outbreak.”
She says Medicare For All would not fix the inefficiencies where public money is used on expensive treatments with limited health benefits. Baicker adds that expanding Medicaid could be a better option.
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Katherine baicker_2018_thumbnail (1)Katherine Baicker is a leading health economics researcher and dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. She spoke with Business Insider about the changes America needs to make to its healthcare system to prepare for another pandemic. Following is a transcript of the video.

Sara Silverstein: Kate, in situations like these where we have contagious diseases, why does it benefit everyone for other people to have health insurance?

Katherine Baicker: That’s a great question because most of the time when we talk about expanding health insurance, the main people who benefit from that are the newly insured who get access to care that improves their health and that’s the main benefit. But in the case of contagious disease, clearly, my health affects the health of my family and my neighbors and my community. So we all have a much stronger interest in ensuring that everyone has access to care for contagious diseases.See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Original Source: feedproxy.google.com

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