09:39 GMT21 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) - US opioid manufacturers made payments of at least $65 million to tax-exempt charities that specialize in pain management as a means of increasing sales, according to a report by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

    The senators "identified $65 million in payments from manufacturers of opioids and opioid-related products (for example, therapies to treat opioid use disorder, opioid overdoses, or opioid-induced constipation) to such groups since 1997, including nearly $30 million since 2012," the lawmakers said in a report to members of the US Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

    The report included three case studies identifying the American Chronic Pain Association, Americans for Patient Access and the International Association for the Study of Pain as recipients of the opioid makers’ largess.

    The lawmakers based the report on financial data, including Internal Revenue Service tax forms filed by ten tax exempt groups along with information about their advocacy activities.

    The groups helped drive up sales while downplaying the risks of opioid addiction, the report noted.

    Three waves of opioid overdose deaths From 1999–2018 killed nearly 450,000 Americans, according to a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

    In addition, anecdotal evidence suggests that the US is experiencing a new wave of opioid overdoses tied to COVID-19-related lockdowns, primarily from black market drugs because a government crackdown imposed restrictions on doctor prescriptions for addictive painkillers, according to media.

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    Tags:
    COVID-19, US Senate, Opioid, US
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