Letters to the Editor

Is Rod Blum capitalizing on opioid crisis?

Throughout his tenure, U.S. Rep. Rod Blum has become adept at feigning concern over issues that deeply affect ordinary Americans while capitalizing on their plight. The crisis over opioid drugs is no different.

Indeed, if you examine the last three financial disclosure reports Blum submitted, you’ll see he claims to hold $300,000 to $1,000,000 worth of stock in corporations that produce and distribute synthetic and semi-synthetic opioid products.

For a man that has also owned as much $100,000 in Phillip Morris stock and has a $900,000 stake in hydrocarbon companies, it’s doubtful he cares much about the public health effects of his investment choices. But, with the increased use of prescription opioid compounds, the outcome has been quite grave.

According to data compiled by the CDC, synthetic and semi-synthetic products manufactured by prescription drug companies were responsible for 64.27 percent of the 32,445 opioid-related deaths in 2016. Moreover, two of the companies Blum declared, McKesson and Cardinal Health, are defendants in 442 different cases of litigation. These same companies have received six warning letters from the FDA since 2008, which is substantial because the agency has issued a little less than an annual average of 10 over the last three years.

So Blum’s interest in creating a search engine optimization company that promises to bury such citations, Tin Moon, should be plainly obvious. It’s just a terrible shame that he takes political theater more seriously than personal and professional misconduct.

Mary Knox

West Branch

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