The Addiction Conspiracy: How Government and Big Pharma Created an Epidemic
Americans use the most opioids of any nation; in 2013, 16,000 Americans died from overdosing on narcotic painkillers.
The drug industry created the opioid addiction epidemic by introducing long-acting opioid painkillers like OxyContin and changing pain prescription guidelines to make opioids the first choice for many types of chronic pain.
Drug industry also promoted the long-term use of opioids, even though there’s no evidence that using these drugs long term is safe and effective, and downplayed the risk of addiction to these drugs.
Now the U.S. government has approved opioid legislation that feeds profits right back to the drug industry by focusing on treatment for painkiller addiction and making anti-addiction drugs more easily available.
Downplaying and misinforming doctors and patients about the addictive nature of opioid drugs. OxyContin, for example, became a blockbuster drug mainly through misleading claims, which Purdue Pharma knew were false from the start.
The basic promise was that it provided pain relief for a full 12 hours, twice as long as generic drugs, giving patients “smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night.”
However, for many the effects don’t last anywhere near 12 hours, and once the drug wears off, painful withdrawal symptoms set in, including body aches, nausea and anxiety. These symptoms, in addition to the return of the original pain, quickly begin to feed the cycle of addiction.
A 2015 article8 in The Week does a great job revealing the promotional strategy developed by Purdue, and backed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that has led to such enormous personal tragedy. As noted in this article,
“The time-release conceit even worked on the FDA, which stated that ‘Delayed absorption, as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.'”
New Hampshire Suing Over Deceptive Marketing
Several states are indeed trying to hold drug makers accountable for the epidemic of addiction.
One of them is New Hampshire, where the state attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, accusing the company of deceptive marketing, saying it misrepresented the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use for chronic pain.
But while the attorney general’s legal team consists of three people, Purdue has 19 lawyers on the case. As reported by Concord Monitor:10
“One year after the state attorney general’s office filed subpoenas against five large drug companies to discover how addictive painkillers have been marketed in the state, the pharmaceutical giants have handed over nothing more than legal briefs …
The current legal fight is whether the attorney general’s office can hire outside help.
All of the drug companies have refused to turn over any internal documents, as long as the attorney general’s office works with hired counsel — Cohen Milstein — a firm that has litigated similar cases against the pharmaceutical industry.
Lawyers representing the drug companies have argued Cohen Milstein has an inherent bias against them because it will only get paid if the state takes future legal action against the drug companies.
A Merrimack County Superior Court judge recently sided with the state, but the drug companies are refusing to budge … ‘They don’t want us to know, that’s for sure,’ Boffetti said. ‘We can have no resources; they’ll do everything they can to prevent us from seeing the documents.'”