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Thursday, December 21, 2023

Season's Greetings! 2023 in Review

As 2023 comes to a close, we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all of our researchers for your continuing support and connection to the Industry Documents Library.

We’re grateful for your interest in industry documents and for your participation in the IDL community, whether that’s through documents research, workshops and trainings, project partnerships, or strategic planning and guidance.

Here are some of the achievements you helped us reach in 2023:

18,387,011 documents now available through IDL!

  • In collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, we continued to acquire and make available millions of documents created by Insys Therapeutics disclosed in opioid litigation as well as a new collection of DEA materials for the UCSF-JHU Opioid Industry Documents Archive. This brings the total number of OIDA documents to 3.1M.

  • The UCSF-JHU Opioid Industry Documents Archive team was honored to be the 2023 recipient of the Archival Innovator Award given by the Society of American Archivists. The Archival Innovator Award recognizes an archivist, a group of archivists, a repository, or an organization that demonstrates the greatest overall current impact on the profession or their communities.

  • With the support of the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PHRE), IDL added the new Talc Litigation Collection to the Chemical Industry Documents Archive. This initial set of 3,500 documents was obtained through investigations and lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, which alleged that the company knew its talc products contained asbestos, a known toxin linked to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

  • At the closing of the MN Tobacco Depository in 2021, we identified a number of tobacco industry files and videos that were missing from our holdings. The Minnesota Historical Society conducted a search and a major digitization project on our behalf and we are so grateful for their efforts! This year we began adding these missing files to TTID and will continue to do so through 2024.

  • We welcomed J.A. Nelson to the IDL Team this year. J.A. is our Sr Front-end Web Developer helping to build an updated version of the IDL website. More details about this rebuild will be coming in 2024!

  • This summer, we hosted one Senior Data Science Fellow, Noel Salmeron, and two Junior Data Science Fellows, Adam Silva and Bryce Quintos, in collaboration with the UCSF Data Science and Open Scholarship team. As senior fellow, Noel utilized our audiovisual materials on IDL to evaluate the transcription accuracy of digital archives and the impact on documentation along with the creation of subject words and descriptions. Read more about this project on the Archives & Special Collections Brought to Light blog.

  • UCSF Magazine wrote a wonderful piece, Corporate Strategy, National Tragedy: UCSF’s industry archives expose the marketing tactics that fueled the opioid epidemic, featuring Professor Dorie Apollonio and her work with UCSF pharmacy students using the opioid industry documents.

  • We added 18 new publications which cite industry documents to our Bibliography, bringing the total number of citations to 1,174!
2023 was a busy year for workshops and webinars!
  • In May, we delivered our Annual Tobacco and Industry Documents Workshop.
  • Also in May, we had the pleasure of participating in the joint UCSF-JHU OIDA webinar "Exploring the Opioid Industry Documents: Research Communities, Educational Opportunities, and Community Data" (recording available)
  • In August, we assisted with a workshop on Breast Cancer and Industry Documents where advocates learned about a 1-year research project uncovering what industry knew about breast cancer risk and their products as well as new methodologies for research, advocacy and journalism collaborations.

From all of us at the IDL, we wish you a safe and festive holiday season, and a healthy and hopeful New Year ahead.

Kate, Rachel, Rebecca, Sven, Melissa and J.A.
Thursday, January 19, 2023

130,000 New Industry Documents Posted & New Fellowship Opportunities for 2023

OIDA Updates

Opioid Industry Documents Archive
We added 127,511 documents to the UCSF-JHU Opioid Industry Documents Archive's Insys Litigation Documents collection. These documents, which arise from Insys’s early years bringing the fentanyl spray Subsys to market (2012–2013), shed new light on the genesis of the company’s speaker program and reimbursement center (See the Insys At a Glance page for more information), both of which have featured prominently in litigation against Insys.

This release is the fourth batch of Insys documents to be added to OIDA; the Insys collection ultimately will contain several million documents that are currently being processed chronologically. Processed documents will be made public on a rolling basis with monthly releases expected in 2023–2024. Information arising from a December 2022 release (UCSF News, Johns Hopkins University News) served as the basis for reporting from USA Today.

Opioid Industry Documents Archive National Advisory Committee Update
We are pleased to welcome four new members to our National Advisory Committee, a group that supports the Archive through expert recommendations on the project’s development and sustainability pertaining to use, transparency, accessibility, impact, and other measures: Sandy Alexander (former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General), Michelle Muffett-Lipinski (recovery advocate and Founding Principal, Northshore Recovery High School), Melina Sherman (communications scholar, Knology), and Anthony Ryan Hatch (Professor of the Science in Society Program, Wesleyan University). Many thanks to our outgoing NAC member Beth Macy (author of Raising Lazarus and Dopesick) for her remarkable service.

Food Industry Documents Updates

3,600+ New USRTK Food Industry Documents Added
The 3,634 new documents posted today were donated by USRTK and acquired in their ongoing investigations into the influence of large food and beverage companies on academic partnerships and government regulatory processes around sugary beverages and obesity, among other topics.


2023 Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities for Industry Documents Research - Apply Now!
We are pleased to share two 2023 postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at UCSF that will work with our collections.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Opioid Industry Documents Research and Community Data Engagement - The UCSF OIDA Postdoctoral Fellow will pursue original, publishable research using materials housed in OIDA and work closely with the archive research team to enhance the accessibility and usability of archival materials for a diverse array of communities, with a particular focus on racial and health equity. Fellows will work on a multidisciplinary team including faculty, other postdoctoral fellows and research assistants and will be mentored by and work closely with researchers and information specialists at UCSF. Fellows will be based at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education ( and participate fully in the fellowship program. Fellows will also be affiliated with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the UCSF School of Medicine (

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Tobacco Control Research -
The CTCRE Postdoctoral Fellowship offers diverse educational and research opportunities, including a grant writing seminar, graduate research positions, advocacy training, and individualized documents training. Work spans policy and historical research, economics, and science. Fellows are recruited from a variety of fields including the basic sciences, social sciences, public health practitioners, clinical fields, political science, history, economics, law, and marketing. Fellowship stipends range from $55,500 - $66,600, depending on years of postdoctoral experience.

More about the fellowships and application submission


UCSF Digital Health Humanities Pilot

The Digital Health Humanities Pilot (DHHP) will facilitate new insights into historical health data. Participants from all disciplines (including faculty, staff, and other learners) will learn how to evaluate and integrate digital methods and “archives as data” into their research through a range of offerings and trainings utilizing datasets from holdings within the UCSF Archives and Special Collections (including the AIDS History Project and Industry Documents Library, among others.)

Check out the workshops and sign up!

UC Love Data Week (February 13-17)

Want more information on working with data?
The UC-wide Love Data Week offers free sessions on topics such as data access, management, security, sharing, and preservation.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Our Year in Review... Goodbye 2022!

As 2022 comes to a close, we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all of you for your continuing support and connection to the Industry Documents Library.

We’re grateful for your interest in industry documents and for your participation in the IDL community, whether that’s through documents research, workshops and trainings, project partnerships, or strategic planning and guidance.

This year we celebrated 20 years (!!!) of making industry documents available online and we appreciate all the ways you’ve worked with us to make the IDL stronger.

Here are some of the achievements you helped us reach in 2022:

17,508,831 documents now available through IDL!
We added 2.3 million new documents to the collections in 2022 -

  • 156 in Tobacco,
  • 20,924 in Food,
  • 2,293,591 in Opioids

  • In collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, we continued to acquire and make available millions of documents created by Insys Therapeutics, Mallinckrodt, McKinsey & Co, Walgreens and Purdue Pharma disclosed in Opioid Litigation for the Opioid Industry Documents Archive.

  • We welcomed two new additions to the IDL Team this year and are very grateful for their needed presence and contributions:
    Melissa Ignacio, IDL Program Coordinator
    Erik-Paul Gibson, IDL User Experience Designer

  • We delivered our Annual Tobacco and Industry Documents Workshop in May, and a follow up webinar to last year's Food Industry Documents Archive Training Institute to help global health advocates learn how to search and use industry documents in their work

  • We hosted three incredible summer interns: 2 SFUSD students as Junior Data Science Fellows and a graduate student as a Senior Fellow in a program cohosted by IDL and UCSF Library's Data Science Initiative.

  • In November, we participated in the first Everlaw Summit and were featured in a fireside chat titled “Seeking Truth & Healing in Our Nation’s Deadly Opioid Crisis.”

  • We added 27 new publications which cite industry documents to our Bibliography, bringing the total citations to 1,145!

  • If you’re able, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Industry Documents Library to help us preserve and provide access to the collections for years to come.

    From all of us at the IDL, we wish you a safe and festive holiday season, and a healthy and hopeful New Year ahead.

    Kate, Rachel, Rebecca, Sven, Melissa and Erik
    Thursday, July 07, 2022

    "Documents are a gift to researchers, justice-seekers and students..."

    Guest Post by Charlotte Bismuth
    Bismuth is a former prosecutor and the author of Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher, as well as a member of FedUp!’s Advocacy Committee. She serves on UCSF-Johns Hopkins University OIDA’s National Advisory Committee.

    As a junior associate at a big New York City law firm in the early 2000s, I spent my days—and nights—conducting document review. It was not considered to be a choice assignment, but quickly grew into an obsession. With the latest release of Mallinckrodt and McKinsey documents, journalists and the public have a unique opportunity to further explore the cause of accountability in the opioid epidemic.

    The “document review” process, circa 2004, began when the firm received boxes upon boxes upon boxes of company records. We hired contractors to scan them into PDF form, then worked with our tech specialists to devise scanning protocols (indicating how we wanted folders, stapled documents, paper-clipped documents or loose assortments to be represented, as well as the numbers to be stamped at the bottom). These “Bates” numbers, popping up on the bottom right corner of every page through which we subsequently rifled, populated our nightmares. I still think of all this work today: there is so much invisible and essential labor in the creation of an electronic collection of images that are not only relevant but presented in their authentic form.

    Once the documents had been uploaded into the software program we used for review, we designed protocols for hierarchical tagging systems, which meant every sheet of paper would be categorized, analyzed and ranked by its content, creator, date, topic, relevance or “hotness.” Senior partners could then review their black binders of critical documents with the knowledge that everything below had been filtered by everyone below. As we made our way through each set of documents, we worked with the tech team to roll out “productions” in paper and electronic form, with accompanying privilege logs and cover letters. The entire process was rife with potential dangers: one missed redaction, one unintended enclosure, and your reputation would be toast. I still tremble at the memory of a few all-caps email messages I received in the middle of the night, on my Blackberry, calling me to task for a Bates number error or unintentionally blank sheet.

    My obsession with document review thus originated from self-preservation and fear. It developed into a passion when I prepared my first deposition. The defendant was a former New York State corrections officer who’d been accused of raping a female inmate. Though I had my binder of “hot docs” at the ready, it was my understanding of the body of documents we had obtained—their substance, their deficiencies and their gaps—that allowed me to maintain a sense of direction and achieve our deposition goals.

    A few years later, as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, I was working with a junior ADA on an investigation. It was “impossible,” he complained, to get through all the cell phone records we’d obtained in the time we had. It took me a moment to understand that he, unlike me, was not in a state of grateful enchantment before this trove of information.

    Before long, I was applying my document review skills to a landmark opioid prosecution. My case—involving a corrupt physician who sold controlled substance prescriptions in exchange for cash—was one of many that followed in the wake of Purdue Pharma’s fraudulent marketing of OxyContin. Without my “BigLaw” document skills, I never would have been able to marshal the volume of documentary evidence we needed to build the homicide, insurance fraud and reckless endangerment angles of the case. And ironically, I’ve since applied those skills—developed at the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, which represents Side B of the Sackler family—to support activists fighting against the Sacklers.

    Documents are a gift to researchers, justice-seekers and students. Everything and everyone leaves a trace. The truth may not always be what you expect, but skillful, careful and honest document review will allow you to make your peace with it.

    The possibilities for research and reporting using OIDA documents are rich, as we’ve already seen with Washington Post, Salon, and New York Times articles. I hope someone will choose to go through these documents with an eye to the contributions of the sales representatives and their supervisors, as well as the middle-level executives and the marketing teams. We—justly—have focused on members of the Sackler family and other high-profile industry leaders in seeking accountability for the opioid epidemic, but where are their foot soldiers now? In which industries are they peddling their skills at selling lies? I’ve taken just a few names and followed them into high-level pharmaceutical positions: who will conduct a more thorough examination? Have any of these individuals been held to task for their choices? Admitted their mistakes? Contributed any part of their ill-gotten gains to victims or any of their time to hard-hit communities?

    Documents allow us to verify facts and rebuild a disappeared world: in the case of the opioid epidemic, the OIDA documents may well help us repair the damage and prevent this tragedy from ever happening again.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2022

    1.4 Million Mallinckrodt Documents Released

    The Opioid Industry Documents Archive, hosted by University of California, San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University, is a free and public digital archive of opioid litigation documents, including previously unseen evidence on how and why the opioid epidemic happened — shedding light on this tragedy so that a crisis like this will never happen again.

    Today we added 1.4 million documents to the Opioid Industry Documents Archive from Mallinckrodt, a leading generic opioid manufacturer now in bankruptcy. The company is one of many in the opioid industry currently implicated in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people due to misleading marketing, sales, distribution, dispensing, and governance practices. The Mallinckrodt company agreed to release documents produced during litigation as part of their settlement in recent legal cases with the plaintiffs.

    Starting today, the documents in the archive are available to and searchable by the public, including families impacted by the opioid crisis as well as the media, healthcare practitioners, students, lawyers, and researchers. We invite everyone to search the archives for the truth.

    Read the Press Releases: May 10, 2022: Opioid Industry Archive Releases 1.4 Million Documents from Leading Opioid Maker Implicated in Drug Crisis
    via UCSF News, via Johns Hopkins University News Releases

    Read the Washington Post's Mallinckrodt investigation: Inside the sales machine of the 'kingpin' of opioid makers- (Meryl Kornfield, Scott Higham and Steven Rich, The Washington Post, May 10, 2022)

    Tuesday, May 10, 2022

    State AG Perspective: Exposing the Truth

    Guest post by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, New York Attorney General Letitia James, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares

    Today’s disclosure of more than a million documents from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, one of the country’s most prolific opioid sellers, is an important step to expose the truth and prevent a manmade crisis like the opioid epidemic from ever happening again.

    Drug companies profited by pushing dangerous prescription opioids, and Americans have become the biggest users of opioids in the world. Communities across our nation suffered the consequences as a result: addiction, overdose, and death.

    Families most impacted by the crisis have led the way in advocating for justice. Parents whose own children died because of the opioid crisis have dedicated years of their lives to protect others. They demanded that lawbreakers be held accountable, failed systems be reformed, and urgent investments be made for harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and prevention.

    State Attorneys General heard the calls for action and acted. Working together, across party lines and across the nation, our teams conducted a searching investigation of illegal conduct throughout the opioid industry. We filed lawsuits and won verdicts from judges and juries, forcing companies to pay tens of billions of dollars that will be dedicated to address the crisis.

    An essential part of justice is exposing the truth. Our teams pursued that truth for years. Our efforts resulted in the public disclosure of millions of documents and of the critical facts revealed by witnesses ranging from drug sales reps to company presidents.

    We rejected the companies’ attempts to keep the evidence sealed, or to hand it back to the perpetrators. Instead, we posted it online.

    For the first time in a generation, since the landmark tobacco cases, an industry’s secrets are being turned over to the public. Under orders entered by courts throughout the nation, millions of opioid industry documents will be posted in a free public archive, in perpetuity.

    The families who suffered in this crisis will be able to see for themselves the evidence that we uncovered – the company emails, board minutes, and business plans that changed so many lives.

    Journalists, filmmakers, artists, and scholars will tell the story of this epidemic using the real words and actions of the people who drove the opioid business.

    Policymakers throughout the country will be informed by what went wrong.

    Executives, directors, and employees in every industry will know that, if they break the law and endanger the public, the whole world may see what they did.

    Today is a step toward justice. We are grateful to the advocates who demanded action in the face of a devastating crisis, to our staff who work every day to serve the public, and to the archivists at the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins who will preserve this evidence for the public good.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2022

    New McKinsey Litigation Documents Posted to OIDA

    Since our last update in 2021 we have been hard at work behind the scenes processing several million new documents for the UCSF-JHU Opioid Industry Documents Archive (OIDA). We’re excited to make several hundred of these documents public today, with many more to be released in the coming months. We’d like to especially recognize and thank our OIDA collaborators at Johns Hopkins University for their contributions to this project and we look forward to continuing this work together.

    317 McKinsey Litigation Documents Released

    The UCSF-JHU Opioid Industry Documents Archive (OIDA) added 317 new documents to its collections today. These documents relate to McKinsey's consulting work for Purdue Pharma, as covered in the New York Times today.

    OIDA is currently processing millions of pages of additional documents arising from opioid litigation which will be released in the months to come. OIDA is a state-of-the-art, free digital archive of litigation documents advancing understanding of root causes of the worst drug epidemic in our country’s history so as to prevent future harms.

    Welcome Melissa Ignacio!!

    We are thrilled to welcome Melissa Ignacio to the IDL team as our new IDL Program Coordinator. Melissa will be supporting planning and project management activities for IDL, especially our work on opioid industry documents. Read more about Melissa in Library News.