We all know someone with an addiction to legal prescription drugs. Opioid addiction has become an epidemic in America. Where does the blame for this problem belong? Is it with the patients who see their doctor to get rid of discomfort? Should the blame lie with doctors for carelessly whipping out the prescription pad? Yet, what if most of the blame should lie with the drug companies who pressure doctors or provide incentives to get their drugs prescribed to patients?
Profit Over People
Drug companies continue to put profit over people. Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, spent almost $800 million for lobbying. That’s in addition to the millions that they’ve paid out in support of various political campaigns.
And Congress is giving in to drug companies under the guise of making sure that patients have access to opioids. The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act was enacted to punish pill mills to be warned by the DEA before anyone loses their professional licenses. John Rannazzisi, former head of the DEA’s Diversion Control, called this Act a gift to the drug companies. Rannazzisi stated that the Act doesn’t do anything more than take away the DEA’s power to go after the drug companies.
An Increase In Deaths
Sadly, the opioid addiction in American continues to grow. It’s resulted in families mourning the loss of their loved ones. The U.S. Department of Health and Homeland Security reported that deaths related to opioid addiction, including legal prescriptions, has tripled in the last 17 years.
This problem of overdose and abuse isn’t just limited to adults. The study performed by HHS includes people age 12 and older. The study also states that more than half a million prescriptions for opioid painkillers are written every day. Currently, around one in eight deaths that occur do so because of opioid use.
Why Do Opioids Work So Well?
Opioids, whether legal or illegal, are derived from opium-based plants. One of the best-known plants is poppy. People have opioid receptors in the brain, the spinal cord, and in the digestive system. So, when people take opioids, those receptors react and minimize pain for most people. The fact that humans have opioid receptors is why opioid medications produced by drug companies help people get rid of pain.
Drug Companies Continue To Profit On Opioids
Despite the increase in deaths related to opioid-based medications, drug companies continue to profit. Oxycontin, originally developed for pain relief in cancer patients, had $48 million in profits during its first year on the market. That was in 1996. In 2000, the manufacturer saw a profit of more than $1 billion. That’s more than a 2,000% profit increase. Oxycontin is no longer a drug that is reserved for cancer patients.
In fact, Purdue Pharma, the drug company that makes Oxycontin, provided all-expense paid “conferences” for doctors to promote the use of their drug.
Where Do We Go From Here?
America continues to reel from the grip opioid addiction has on it. So, where do we go from here? When do we begin to hold the drug companies responsible? Make sure that you truly understand the risks associated with any medication that is prescribed to you before you take it. Ask questions. Ask whether the drug has a potential for addiction.
If you or a loved one has been injured by opioid pain medication, contact Goldwater Law Firm. You may be eligible for a free case evaluation. We specialize in representing patients who are injured by defective drugs.