2020 Targets: Teva, and John Hammergren.

The Imperial Family of Oxy, the Sacklers, are getting it up the ass, which is fine; but let’s focus, this year, on other worthies. If the point is to make others who fatally addicted America take a very deep bow, the choices are practically infinite among pharma corporations, drug distribution companies, pharmacies, the whorish FDA, doctors, bogus industry-bought pain organizations, members of Congress… So UD’s choice of these two – the mind-bogglingly filthy pharma giant, Teva, and the happily retired billionaire head of McKesson, one of the country’s biggest drug distributors – is somewhat random. But the scandal of Teva continuing to be treated like a business instead of a criminal enterprise, and CSIS’s lucrative, white-washing embrace of Hammergren, who now doles out health-advice to the nation, stand out as landmark evils within the larger landscape of drug-dead America. Li’l UD is only one blogger, and though by her lights she’s amazingly well-off, she can’t exactly compete with the resources of dirty rotten billionaire scoundrels. But she pledges to do her bit, in the year ahead, to keep her own modest spotlight on these two.

While the grotesque John Hammergren…

… (details here) retires from his drug distribution days to the life of a highly respectable billionaire, ordinary dumbshit drug distributors in the state he helped destroy – West Virginia – go to jail. Let’s put the big drug capo next to the little drug capolinis, okay?

In a species of hypocrisy too grotesque even to laugh at, Hammergren, for years the CEO behind McKesson’s opioid carpet bombing of the US, currently heads up a task force on women’s health at the Center for Strategic and International Stupefacients (of which he is also a trustee; enjoy his written-by-someone-stoned-out-of-her-mind biography here). He ran one of America’s dirtiest businesses, and his personal greed is a national disgrace, but CSIS just loves them some Hammergren money and they don’t give a shit about those dead people cuz they wanna help people, see? You follow?

No other corporation distributed more opioids in those years than Hammergren’s McKesson … Over his first 16 years as CEO, notes Bloomberg, Hammergren pocketed $781 million. His final months in the McKesson chief executive suite brought that total near $800 million. Upon his retirement, he walked away with a pension package worth $138.6 million.” When the rewards for addicting much of the nation get this high, you do not go to jail, mes petites; you make high-level decisions about women’s health.

So here’s John with probably more personal real estate than even Jeffrey Epstein, telling those American women who happened to survive his carpet bombing how to stay in tiptop shape … and here’s a couple of West Virginians – Samuel R. Ballengee and Devonna Miller-West – who saw the amazing business potential of opioids just as clearly as Hammergren but lacked his resources and connections. What happened to them?

They’ve landed where Hammergren never will – on a federal indictment for drug distribution. They’re both the sort of jerks who will end up going to jail rather than advising UD on how to keep her cholesterol low through the liberal application of OxyContin. Ballengee, once a pharmacist, and indeed a McKesson distributor until CBS aired a report about his pharmacy and McKesson went and got cold feet, got so pissed at CBS for ruining his business that he sued them for fifteen million dollars! That must seem like a lot to Ballengee, though Hammergren makes that much every time he takes a dump.

Anyway, a judge totally dismissed the lawsuit totally immediately (“These broadcasts were not only tolerable—they were applaudable... The people of West Virginia, indeed those all over the country, deserve to know about the evolution of the opioid epidemic and the identities of the bad actors.”), and now Ballengee’s unemployed, owes lawyers money, is the object of a bunch of civil suits from I guess survivors of overdosed customers, and has been named in a federal indictment. Loser.

Miller-West is similarly pitiable. She shares Hammergren’s tireless drug-entrepreneurship energy – she owned (still owns?) not only a pharmacy, but also Alternative Healing and Coalfield Cannabis (admiring local news article here) – but she too finds herself on the federal indictment.

John Hammergren’s a Folkloric Figure Here at University Diaries…

… (read all of these posts to refresh your memory) and he’s just beginning to claim his share of the attention he deserves from the larger world. But we need to be patient; he remains — despite having been rewarded with seven hundred million dollars in personal compensation over ten years for addicting much of the state of West Virginia — parenthetic.

For most businesses, $150 million [in fines] would be a lot of money. At McKesson, it was less than the $159 million retirement package the company granted its longtime chief executive, John H. Hammergren, in 2013. (After a public backlash — a Forbes headline asked if it was “The World’s Most Outrageous Pension Deal?” — the company later reduced the package to $114 million.)

PARENTHESIS $114 million? And why not mention that this, er, specimen sits on the board of the Center for Strategic and International Stupefacients, bringing his knowledge of drug distribution to global thinking at the highest levels? There’s a lot to say about John Hammergren. But people seem willing to wait until he gets arrested (think it can’t happen?) to say it. Here on University Diaries, we’re saying it now.

John Hammergren’s Best Friend Turns on Him

The FDA has stood back and watched proudly as its buddy John Hammergren [scroll down], head of drug distributor McKesson, pockets seven hundred million dollars for ten years of work — but he earned every penny of it, having engineered the distribution, for instance, of five million opioids to Kermit, WV, population four hundred.

Hammergren’s the sort of pusher-billionaire the FDA’s in the business of ignoring… ignoring? Nay, encouraging, as he finds and exploits bottomless wells of addiction in this nation’s hollers and thereby does his part to make America the economic miracle that it is. He’s honored everywhere: Arizona State University named him Executive of the Year; he sits on the board of the prestigious Center for Strategic and International Stupefacients… Because we want people like Hammergren setting policy for us, and for the world, China and India having much larger populations than Kermit, and awaiting McKesson’s ministrations…

Well, it’s all been a win-win arrangement, but now the butcher’s bill is really coming due on the whole opioid thing – ie it’s not just no-‘count West Virginians dying anymore, and even the FDA has today felt compelled to murmur a little demur or two…

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The FDA’s his best friend. Wanna know who his lover is? The DEA.

John Hammergren: Getting his Ass Out While the Getting is Good!

Seven hundred million dollars over the last ten years in personal compensation! Not bad. This guy makes the Sacklers look like chumps. And all on the backs of poor slobs in West Virginia who took his drugs and destroyed themselves and their worlds. And now the CEO of the most disgusting opioid distributor in the world (“In 2006 and 2007 … McKesson Corp … shipped more than 5.66 million opioid pills to a single pharmacy in a tiny town in rural West Virginia, according to a scathing congressional report released last month.”) has decided that with the eyes of the courts upon his business methods the time is absolutely right to retire.

Time to explore other ways he can make a contribution to society.

A message from John H. Hammergren, one of our trustees here at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Wyoming, McDowell, and Boone, and Mingo:
These four no-count hollers all add up to… BINGO!
Get set for a lesson
From Mr McKesson
America’s greediest chairman, by jingo.

Shipping oodles and oodles of Oxy
To the poor and defenseless takes moxie.
While they die addicted
From what I’ve inflicted
I’m hoarding my bucks from the proxies.

Let’s toast West Virgina, my friends!
Let’s toast my obscene dividends!
And thank-you to the villagers
From our “most rapacious pillager”
Your trustee, John H. Hammergren.

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[UD thanks Dirk.]

“In 2013, … [Gordon] Freedman prescribed [a] patient about 85,427 oxycodone pills — an average of 234 pills per day.”

Why is it that our most assiduous doctors, our physicians most devoted to the well-being of their patients, are the first to go to prison when an oxy-panic breaks out? Why is it that clinicians on the cutting edge, people willing if need be to try fentanyl, people even willing to kill a patient or two, mavericks in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and guilty of honest services wire fraud, are constantly being hounded by the Justice Department and federal prosecutors and judges and juries?

It makes UD angry on behalf of former McKesson CEO John Hammergren, simply a more … ample Gordon Freedman, a man whose company “in 2006 and 2007 … shipped more than 5.66 million opioid pills to a single pharmacy in a tiny town in rural West Virginia.” Quietly retired on his eight hundred million dollars in compensation for a few brief years of stupendous national drug distribution, Hammergren now has to worry that, like Gordon Freedman, he will be punished for his health-care zeal.

‘[MIT’s] chumminess [with Epstein] suggests a deeper and more intractable moral rot in American academia: It shows that when a billionaire (or, in Epstein’s case, a faux billionaire) comes calling, men in the ivory tower can’t resist lowering their golden locks to let the plutocrat climb aboard.’

Certain universities – Louisville, USC, Yeshiva, the University of Miami – have the smell of more or less criminal enterprises. They’re always generating high-level, multifaceted, scandal; some of their trustees are crooked or even criminal financiers. Yeshiva had Bernard Madoff as treasurer; Ezra Merkin also sat on their board. Also, I believe, Ira Rennert. The school continues to have as a trustee Zygmunt Wilf. These are not pretty people.

Now, Harvard and MIT were indeed buddies with Jeffrey Epstein; Harvard even celebrates as an emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz, at least an Epstein intimate, and at most (according to one of Epstein’s slaves) a secret sharer in the sex. Its erstwhile president, who helped run a hedge fund while president, hung out with Epstein too. (He also hung out with Andrei Shleifer…) But these schools are not the rackety dives those other schools are. They’re not just in it for the money. Nor are they just in it for the sports: The heavy campus hand of plutocrat college sports fans (the recently departed T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State; Phil Knight at Oregon) generates scandals, too – but these are the tired, expected scandals of the jock school.

No, MIT and Harvard are great schools, serious schools, productive schools – they are among the world’s greatest intellectual institutions. They fuck with plutocrats because of their professors’ smokin’ ambition to understand, to invent, to cure. They want money, money, and more money to fund their projects. To be sure, some of this generative creative activity makes some of their professors personally wealthy — the ex-head of MIT’s Media Lab took money from Epstein for his own investments, which adds to the embarrassment of it all… More commonly, professors monetize their medical and technical breakthroughs, producing all kinds of conflict of interest trouble at cutting edge places like Stanford…

We little people, looking in at all of this from the outside, are assured that COIs can be “managed” – the word is always managed – and we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads. Yessir!

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Now look. Most people are pretty greedy; many putrid plutocrats realize that a university affiliation can clean them up real good. It’s a marriage made in heaven. But here’s what UD finds remarkable: MIT’s endowment is close to 17 billion; Harvard’s is close to forty billion. In ten years or so, Harvard’s wealth will be, say, a hundred billion. Harvard is a superplutocrat.

These schools are currently in trouble for promiscuous plutocrat fraternization; but given how INSANELY – not to say unconscionably – rich they are, why is this sort of thing happening at all? Just make an appointment with the “super-secret and dictatorial Harvard Corporation” and explain to them that you’d rather dip into the school’s billions and billions and billions than have to take research money from a guy in jail for sexually enslaving fifteen year olds. The worst they can say is no!

And while we’re at it – Why do superbillionaires like Harvard feel compelled to appoint rich turds like Epstein visiting fellows? We know that legacy parents can pay their kids’ way into Harvard; we know that rich parents can bribe coaches to get their kids into schools like Harvard and Yale. I’m not sure we knew that profit-oriented Harvard faculty can gift generous rich guys official appointments. Not a good look. Not a good look at all. But when Larry Summers spends his presidency running a hedge fund, losing $1.8 billion of Harvard’s endowment on market gambles, and defending a faculty crony who misused, for personal gain, government funds to Harvard, whadaya expect? That crony cost Harvard tens of millions in federal penalties, and it made not one bit of difference in terms of his high-profile position in Harvard’s economics department. That’s the way plutocracies work, kiddies. Plutocracies are even smart enough to know when their workings have become too public, which is why right after Larry Summers, Harvard appointed preachy anti-materialist Drew Faust (‘And while you’re at it, find me a woman, for crap sake!”) to maintain the non-profit theatrics.

Skeptical of the clean-up crew function of women when plutocrat sausage parties get out of hand? Read and learn. As FIFA went, so went Harvard – when things get truly desperate and you can’t hide what you’ve been doing any longer, Find A Woman, Pronto. You can always go right back to men when it all blows over.

***********

As ever, sing it.

[Before and after his conviction in 2008, Epstein was a regular on the masturbatory tech gadfly circuit — an attendee and sponsor of “billionaire dinners” and related sausage-factory soirees at which ultrawealthy men (among them the founders of Amazon and Google), elite scientists and various other male luminaries discussed the future they were collectively trying to build (or, depending on your perspective, squander.)]

***********

The party’s over

It’s time to find us a dame

Until we start up again

I’m going to miss our game

It’s time to wind up

The masquerade

There’s no more Epstein

To keep us paid…

The Center for Strategic and International Stupefacients…

… boasts on its board one of America’s most notorious opioid distributors: John Hammergren. As CEO of McKesson, he has flooded West Virginia and similar defenseless states with so many opioids that over the last ten years, while helping to destroy the lives of thousands of Americans, he has brought home seven hundred million dollars in personal compensation.

As Alfred North Whitehead reminds us, “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.” Thanks, citizens of Kermit!

It must give the scholars at CSIS a warm feeling to ponder this major source of their funding (Hammergren is also a big-time donor). UD thinks the CSIS leadership should visit Kermit and give every one of its corpses a big fat kiss.

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To make it all even prettier, Hammergren chairs a CSIS task force on family health!

While you’re enjoying 60 Minutes, and following today’s news about Tom Marino (currently suffering from withdrawal), remember that opioid-loving drug czars may come and go, but people like Hammergren, given respectability by seemingly respectable academic outfits like CSIS, go on forever, destroying entire towns and setting health care policy.

‘During the worst year of the HIV/AIDS crisis, 43,000 Americans lost their lives to the virus. In 2015, 52,000 died of a drug overdose. Never in recorded history had narcotics killed so many Americans in a single year; the drug-induced death toll was so staggering, it helped reduce life expectancy in the United States for the first time since 1993.’

West Virginia has been the hardest hit.

The proximate responsibility for this grotesque overprescription of opioid painkillers lies with West Virginia’s doctors. But no conscientious wholesaler could look at how many painkillers they were shipping to low-population areas of the state — and at how many people were dying from overdoses in those areas — and not realize that they were enabling a deadly epidemic.

Bernie’s calling for an investigation.

But it’s good. It’s all good. The worst of the wholesalers – McKesson – has a CEO who sits on the distinguished board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, shaping the political thinking of America’s best and brightest. The same man will soon be lecturing us on health care policy. Arizona State University has bestowed its Executive of the Year award on him.

All of this cuz, you know, he made sooooooo much money.

What’s his corporation’s secret? Here ’tis:

[Y]ou can make a lot of money selling dope to addicts.

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Yes, sadly, addicts die. You just advertise for more.

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