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While I have often not agreed with editorial opinions published in The World, I have respected the fact that there will be different points of view on a given issue.

However, the lead editorial on March 21 regarding "Death penalty for drug dealers? ... " is just too much. My main issue is with the absolutely off the wall and vitriolic attack on President Trump. The four pharmaceutical companies named (Pfizer, Merck, GSK and Calgene) are all tightly regulated by the FDA. They manufacture hundreds of medications for an enormous variety of diseases. In fact, it would be surprising if a majority of your readers do not take at least one of these collective products as prescribed by their doctors, except for Calgene. This company offers a very small selection of relatively new products for treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases but no opioids. In addition, the companies are all sold on the New York Stock Exchange. If President Trump is guilty, as you pejoratively claim, then thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands, of other shareholders in these companies are equally guilty and own every bit as much responsibility as the president.

The legal prescription opioid drugs we hear the most about are probably fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, and morphine. Fentanyl (original brand name Sublimaze) is primarily manufactured by Purdue Pharmaceuticals, an Echo International company. The others have multiple generic manufactures both inside and outside the U.S. There is heated controversy over the role pharmaceutical companies have played in the current opioid epidemic by improper advertising to physicians and distributors through loose oversight of inventories. This is currently the subject of a large number of lawsuits. In briefly browsing the Internet, I found, for example, over 20 manufactures and distribution companies being sued by various entities. Pfizer, Merck, GSK and Calgene were not among them. Several of the distributors have paid substantial fines, implying guilt. How the remainder of the lawsuits will play out is yet to be seen.

Joseph T. Morgan

Coos Bay

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