Big Pharma Opioid Epidemic, Part 1 Prescribing Pain Medication

Dangers of Big Pharma

Doctor Joshua Kane, head of research at A Better Today Recovery Services and lecturer at Arizona State University, sat down with Detox to Rehab to talk about the corruption and greed that is linked to big pharmaceutical companies and how pushing unnecessary drugs and over prescribing has added to the addiction epidemic.

While the USA is only 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes around 75 percent of the world’s pharmaceuticals.

Big Pharma Hall of Fame

“Last year [2015] big pharma spent $500,000 per US congressman to lobby the FDA for regulatory favor,” explained Kane.

Last year the Sackler family made it on the Forbes richest families list with a net worth of $14 billion

“They own Purdue Pharma, which makes the most controversial Opioid of the 21st century, OxyContin, with estimated revenues of 35 billion.”

The Purdue’s started in pharmaceutical marketing in the 1970s, when it was still in its infancy.

“They are literally in the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame – there is such a thing. The way they made it into the hall of fame is that they were the first brothers, group or company that passed $100 million [in sales] for one drug, and that was Valium.”

Pharmaceutical Representatives

Not only is Purdue in the hall of fame, it also changed the way pharmaceutical representatives were used.

“The Sackler brothers were the first to scratch doctors’ backs with pretty pharmaceutical reps, kickbacks, tickets to games [and] dinners. They built that industry. In return doctors began to prescribe their company’s drugs in record numbers.”

In 1995 they started to lobby the FDA to get OxyContin approved for the use of pain management. They got the approval for doctors to prescribe 80 milligram pills to patients that have built up a tolerance due to continued use for chronic pain.

“Purdue immediate doubled the number of sales reps to over 600, they increased advertising expenditures for OxyContin to 200 million per year.”

According to Kane they didn’t stop there, “The Sackler brothers created a database of every doctor that was prescribing pain medication in the United States. They pin pointed and targeted these doctors, and then pushed OxyContin, like modern day drug pushers.”

By making the data base the Sackler brothers were able to find hundreds of overprescribing doctors.

“Rather than report it, they sent more pretty pharmaceutical reps to these doctors with more tickets and more dinners.”

Deadly OxyContin Results

Purdue, and the Sacklers did all that they could to get OxyContin into as many hands as possible, and it worked.

“People all over the globe were crunching up their 80 milligram pills and snorting them for a high – barley different than Heroin.”

continue on to Big Pharma Opioid Epidemic, Part 2 – Painkiller Prescriptions Increasing Overdoses

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