Big Pharma to Blame for Opioid Epidemic?

A look at the opioid epidemic in America and Big Pharma’s role via advertising and lobbying.

OxyContin / Photo: AP
OxyContin / Photo: AP

The United States makes up just 5% of the world population, but consumes 99% of global hydrocodone, and 80% of the world’s opioids. A recent Verde Independent article suggests the deep pockets of pharmaceutical companies are to blame.

The report focuses on the aggressive sales tactics displayed by Purdue with their blockbuster OxyContin that debuted in 1996. The drug began focused on cancer patients, but quickly spread to anyone experiencing chronic pain.

“They were falsely promoting opioids as safe and effective for conditions where opioids are not safe or effective,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

Doctors have noted that they’re not properly trained on how to prescribe patients with chronic pain, and the training they do receive is often sponsored material from pharmaceutical companies. The full article delves deeper into the issue, and is well worth the read.

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