September 7, 2018

The man who made billions by selling the highly addictive drug OxyContin has received a patent to sell an opioid treatment.

Richard Sackler, the former chairman and president of the OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, is one of six inventors listed on a patent "for a new formulation of buprenorphine," Axios reported Friday. The invention is a variation of buprenorphine, a mild opiate that is often used as an OxyContin substitute and a common treatment for opioid addiction, the Financial Times reports. The patent was granted earlier this year.

The inventors could stand to make a lucrative profit from the drug due to the increased need for milder opioid alternatives as the country grapples with a devastating and deadly opioid epidemic. In 2017, British pharmaceuticals group Indivior earned more than $800 million from U.S. sales of buprenorphine, per FT.

Purdue Pharma, owned by Sackler's family, is currently being sued by more than 1,000 jurisdictions for its involvement in the opioid crisis, Stat reports. The family has denied responsibility. Marianne Dodson

July 23, 2018

President Trump on Sunday revived a week of controversy by referring to Russian election interference as "a big hoax." "So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election," Trump tweeted. "Why didn't he do something about it? Why didn't he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax."

The tweet came after Trump spent days reassuring Americans that he accepts intelligence agencies' conclusion that Moscow meddled in the 2016 campaign, despite indicating after his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he believed Putin's denials over the conclusions of U.S. intelligence services. Earlier Sunday, Trump argued without evidence that newly released documents confirm "that the Department of 'Justice' and FBI misled the courts" that approved warrants to wiretap his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page. Harold Maass

April 3, 2018

In a nationally televised announcement on Monday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had reached a deal with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to resolve Israel's stalemate over its roughly 35,000 asylum-seekers from Eritrea, Sudan, and other parts of Africa. After he got blowback from hawkish members of his governing coalition, Netanyahu announced on Monday night that he was suspending the agreement, and he canceled it entirely on Tuesday, a head-spinning flip flop that drew condemnation from parties to the agreement and Israeli opposition leaders.

The deal with the UNCHR would have resettled 16,250 African immigrants among Western nations, the rest remaining in Israel with temporary legal status. Netanyahu's previous plan to offer the refugees a choice between a plane ticket to Rwanda or jail in Israel fell apart when Rwanda said it would accept only Africans who left Israel voluntarily. That plan had also prompted widespread criticism in Israel. About 60,000 Africans crossed into Israel between 2005 and 2012, and more than 20,000 of them were either deported or left of their own accord. Nationalists and residents of south Tel Aviv, where many of the immigrants settled, have called for Israel to expel the Africans.

Netanyahu's about-face after receiving criticism from Naftali Bennett, education minister and leader of the far-right Jewish Home party, and other members of his fragile governing coalition called into question the embattled prime minister's decision-making process. "It is sad, troubling, and even a little scary that decisions are made that way," Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said on Army Radio, asking what would happen if Netanyahu made defense decisions based on tweets from his hawkish allies rather than what's right for Israel. Peter Weber

April 18, 2015

Speaking on Russia's state-run Rossiya channel on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin admitted that Moscow and Washington have "disagreements," but that "there is something that unites us, that forces us to work together," Reuters reports.

"I mean general efforts directed at making the world economy more democratic, measured and balanced, so that the world order is more democratic," Putin said. "We have a common agenda."

His comments come two days after he told a Russian phone-in show that the United States wants "not allies, but vassals," and is behaving like the former Soviet Union in its overreaching foreign policy. Sarah Eberspacher

February 27, 2015

While fellow Floridian Republican Gov. Jeb Bush reaffirms his commitment to immigration reform, Sen. Marco Rubio is upping his appeal to the conservative base by backing off in his support for the issue.

Rubio elicited laughter from the audience at CPAC during a Q&A session with Fox News' Sean Hannity when he admitted that his support for the 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill "wasn't very popular, I don't know if you know that from some of the folks here."

Changing his tune ahead of a probable 2016 presidential run, Rubio now says that he "gets" that there are millions of people living in America illegally who have not broken any other law, but that he has "learned you can't even have a conversation about that until people believe and know… that future illegal immigration will be controlled."

The Hill reports that while acknowledging the error of his ways on immigration reform, Rubio also touched on the importance of border security.

"You can't just tell people you're going to secure the border, we're going to do E-Verify," Rubio said, "you have to do that, they have to see it, they have to see it working." The Week Staff

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