Former top DEA official, retires, immediately turns coat to work for Big-Pharma giant, Purdue
Demetra Ashley: from DEA regulator to big pharma consultant
Just over one year ago Demetra Ashley was working as the acting assistant administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). She spent over three decades there, specializing in the diversion of prescription drugs, like opioids. In 2017 she even testified before congress, professing the nation’s need for a “robust regulatory program that seeks to stop diversion of CPDs.”
Then she retired, started a consulting firm and in no time at all Ashley was on the payroll of one of the biggest companies she had once been tasked with regulating: Purdue Pharma.
Purdue is the big-pharma giant responsible for bringing us smash opioid hits like Oxycontin. Which, the company has made over $35 billion on alone. They are also responsible for creating and selling “buprenorphine” — a drug intended to wean opioid addicts off opioids. Allowing them to bankroll off both sides of this opioid crisis; raking in the dough selling insane amounts of oxy and then raking in more when those who get addicted seek alternatives or treatment.
This company has the ethical standards of a pack of rabid hyenas. Now, they’re being sued by over 1,600 cities and counties throughout the US (including Denver) for their “significant role in causing the opioid epidemic,” and for the tens of thousands of overdose deaths that resulted from it.
The water has become so hot for these vultures that they’re even considering filing for bankruptcy, which would freeze those lawsuits where they stand and allow Purdue to avoid due justice (at least for the time being).
And now, they’ve got a turncoat consultant who was once the government administrator in charge of regulating them. Someone who knows the ins and outs of the bureaucracy they’re trying to circumvent.
This not only raises suspicions about the moral integrity of Ashley herself, but brings into question her entire career as the assistant administrator of the DEA. She made moves to get hired by Purdue very quickly after her retirement, so did she know before she left that they would be waiting with open arms to hire her on?
And if she did, did that affect how she was regulating them while at the DEA? If she had really cracked down on her prospective employer like she probably should have, she might have scuttled her shot at such a cush retirement gig. How much were her efforts in office bent to favor the people she knew she’d one day work for?
“This should not be allowed,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University, told NBC news. “Former DEA and FDA officials should not be allowed to take money from companies they regulated.”
That however is not the case. According to the law, there is nothing wrong with what Ashley is doing, currently. She’s just a businesswoman making business decisions. She’s no longer bound to her civic duty as a public servant — she’s retired. These days she’s serving only herself. And her familiarity with the DEA’s regulatory inner-workings is very useful for private companies like Purdue.
Especially when they’re facing a hurricane of lawsuits from so many angry cities, counties and suffering families.