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Big Pharma spent $880 million fighting against state opioid restrictions


(NaturalNews) If you thought Big Pharma couldn't sink any lower, you were wrong. A recent report led by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity, has revealed that the manufacturers of opioid drugs, such as OxyContin, Vicodin and fentanyl, spent a whopping $880 million on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts. This huge amount of money was spent pushing against state efforts to restrict the amount of prescription opioid drugs floating around.

For the unaware, the United States is currently experiencing an opioid epidemic – one that has been particularly profitable for Big Pharma. OxyContin has been one of the most prolific drugs in the prescription opioid craze, and one of the most addictive. Alternet writes that a recent expose by the Los Angeles Times uncovered the fact that Purdue Pharma knowingly lied about their product. Despite being marketed as a 12-hour pill, the Times' handiwork revealed that Purdue "knew the claim was a lie, as did its sales reps, patients, medical professional and even regulatory authorities. At best, Oxy only provided eight hours of pain relief ..."

This means that patients were exposed to withdrawal symptoms, received inadequate care, and were often pushed up to a higher dose of OxyContin – which puts patients at increased risk of death. However, higher dosages make more money than more frequent doses, so this was a very clever, and malevolent, marketing choice by Purdue.

You can see where this is the kind of company that cares very little about public well-being, and quite a lot about profits. It is not surprising that Purdue Pharma, and others like them, have spent nearly a billion dollars trying to protect their hold on the American people. Between 2006 and 2015, Big Pharma spent nearly 200 times more fighting opioid restrictions than opioid restriction advocates spent in the same time period. Sadly, it is not just Big Pharma pushing their agenda. Even organizations that many people consider to be "respectable," have dipped their toes in the pond. The American Cancer Society, for example, has reportedly teamed up with the pharmaceutical industry.

Opioids are very similar to heroin, only they can be prescribed to patients as pain relievers. Due to their highly addictive nature, it is no surprise that the industry desperately wants to protect their ability to be prescribed to anyone for just about anything; opioids are a cash cow.

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a tremendous supporter of prescription opioid reform, told the Associated Press: "They are reaping enormous profits from aggressive prescribing." And while they benefit, millions suffer.

Over 2 million Americans reportedly suffer with an addiction to opioid drugs. Just shy of a half-million people suffer with heroin addiction, as well. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that roughly 80 percent of all heroin users report that their addiction began with misusing opioid drugs. Being that prescription opioids are rather expensive, it is no surprise that people eventually move on to less expensive options. This figure shows that it is not just people currently using prescription opioids that are being harmed by these drugs, but many others as well. One could even postulate that a significant portion of heroin overdoses could be traced back to opioids, in addition to the thousands of deaths caused by opioids directly. Some estimates indicate that opioids are related to up to 60 deaths each day.

Spending $880 million on protecting their profits instead of supporting legislation that would help to end the opioid epidemic ensured that their priorities would be easily understood. Despite the claims of Big Pharma companies like Purdue that they actually care about addiction and the people affected by it, it has become very clear that the only thing they care about is the fact that it makes them money.








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