Sara Gideon’s recent TV attack ad implying that Sen. Susan Collins is responsible for Maine’s opioid scourge is an outrage. According to the ad, the narrator’s husband got into difficulty with opioids when treated for a knee injury. Sen. Collins has accepted campaign money from pharmaceutical company PACs and six drug companies that distributed the opioids, falsely implying a quid pro quo. The narrator then makes the totally inappropriate accusation, “Senator Collins doesn’t care about Maine. She just wants to make money.” The underlying unspoken implication is that Sen. Collins is in some way responsible for our opioid crisis.

Prior to being marketed, Oxycontin was put through a rigorous evaluation by the FDA for effectiveness, indications, and side effects. Oxycontin and all opioids are by prescription only and notoriously addictive. In Oxycontin’s case, once approved, its maker Purdue Pharmaceuticals launched a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign in which they downplayed the addictive potential of the drug, changed their promotional material, sent out an army of salesmen, and went far beyond the FDA’s guidelines. This was no fault of Sen. Collins’. It was an abuse by the drug maker for which they were held accountable. Even the FDA has begged off any responsibility, stating they lack the staff to monitor sales practices after a drug has been vetted.

The Gideon claims are totally out of character for Sen. Collins, who has chaired the Diabetes Caucus and is presently working on legislation to control drug prices and the cost of insulin. She has co-sponsored the bipartisan Tick Act, which funds the testing and treatment of Lyme disease.

Speaker Gideon has also accepted drug company PAC funds. Ironically, she has used campaign funds for her personal use and has been reprimanded and fined by the Federal Election Commission for her campaign fund violations.


David G. Reed
West Rockport

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