America’s Opiate Epidemic Now Expanding Worldwide
Purdue Pharma is the manufacturer of OxyContin, which has been the nation’s number one selling Painkiller in recent years. Due to the awareness of the Opioid epidemic within the United States, the pharmaceutical company has decided to push OxyContin sales internationally.
Opioid Overdoses in America
Over the past several years there has been havoc surrounding addiction and a drastic incline in the nation’s mortality rate. This year the number of deaths associated with Opioid overdoses has reached shocking numbers, 63.1 percent of recorded drug overdoses involved Opioids according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pharmaceutical companies are proving to be the underlying cause of the Opioid epidemic causing the deaths of many of our nation’s citizens.
A month supply of OxyContin is known to cost a person hundreds of dollars, whereas the U.S. generic form, a Prescription Opioid, only costs about 15 cents per day. It seems that certain pharmaceutical companies simply are not concerned about people’s pain relief or their health at. Big Pharma has capitalized on many vulnerable citizens in America. After nearly two decades, the U.S. is finally realizing the true dangers that accompany Prescription Painkillers. Painkillers are highly addictive requiring long-term treatment.
OxyContin’s Contribution to Opioid Epidemic
In 1996, OxyContin, an extended-release form of Oxycodone hit the market in the United States. Due to controversial marketing tactics, OxyContin sales went through the roof. The drug was promoted as the longest lasting pain reliever on the market. OxyContin’s press release stated it lasts for 12 hours offering smooth, sustainable pain control with only one dose, which was at least two times longer than other generic brands.
Today, U.S medical field specialists and researchers understand that OxyContin is highly addictive. Opioids are Narcotics that have significant power to change the neurological composition of an individual’s brain. Ultimately, Prescription Painkillers are recognized as Heroin’s gateway drug.
Prescription Painkillers, especially OxyContin, cause individuals to experience heavy withdrawal symptoms without steady and increasing dosage. Opioids alone are widely known to cause physical dependence and one’s tolerance will build quickly if taken for an extended period. Developing and building upon tolerance forces a person to increase dosage simply to achieve the same relief or effect initially experienced.
The initial marketing of OxyContin downplayed the risk of addiction as well as the addictive properties of the drug, deceiving doctors, which dated back to the late 1990s. Moreover, upon launching of OxyContin, Purdue ran training seminars for specialists in the pain field. The training seminars consisted of all expenses paid resort style weekends.
There were several thousand pain specialists who signed on to the speaker’s bureau for Purdue after the seminars. It reports that the specialists involved have been paid to speak on Prescription Opioids at various hospitals and medical conferences. Per a company analysis, the doctors who attended the 1996 seminars were writing more than twice the amount of prescriptions as those who did not.
Reports from the United States Attorney General’s Office reveal that in May 2007 Purdue Pharma and some of its top executives pled guilty in Virginias Western District for the misbranding and representation of OxyContin. Purdue practiced fraudulent marketing of the Schedule II drug with high abuse potential. The company claimed that OxyContin held less risk for abuse, was not as addictive and less likely to result in withdrawal symptoms than other pain relieving medications.
However, the claims made were not backed by any medical research nor by the FDA. Purdue paid over $600 million in settlement fees to move past the charges. This $600 million setback for Purdue Pharma is one of the largest ever reported in the pharmaceutical industry history.
America’s Opioid Epidemic Bleeds
The halt in sales meant billions of dollars in profit-loss for Purdue Pharma. In methods to counteract the large loss in revenue, Mundipharma, independently associated corporations of Purdue are rapidly addressing the issue by expanding OxyContin’s availability beyond American borders (and around the world).
In American we have a system relatively equipped to deal with the ravages of the Opioid epidemic, however many other places in the world are not as prepared for such a catastrophic situation. According to the Los Angeles Times a network on internationally run pharmaceutical companies, Mundipharma, owned by Purdue Pharma, is expanding its sales of OxyContin, a seriously powerful Painkiller.
In 2003 the DEA stated that the company’s marketing was” aggressive, excessive and inappropriate,” which worsened the criminal trafficking and abuse of the drug. Over the last few decades, the owners of Purdue have made nearly $35 billion in profit from OxyContin sales and is now known as one of the wealthiest families in the U.S. Purdue and the associated foreign corporations, Mundipharma is overseen by three generations of the company’s owning family.
Mundipharma is in 48 countries throughout the world, including countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Mundipharma is not the only drug manufacturer seeking new markets beyond the United States. Organizations like Teva and Grunenthal have recently purchased several drug companies in Mexico.
Insufficient Evidence …Prescription Opioids Help with Pain Relief
Opioids are not the solution to chronic pain, according to U.S. Health Authorities. This year the CDC stated that there is “insufficient evidence” that Prescription Opioids help with pain relief in people who take the drugs for over three months. An estimated 24 percent of individuals who take prescription Opioids long-term will develop an addiction.
Several physicians are being scouted to consult for the companies in an effort to overcome the greatest barriers preventing Prescription Opioid sales abroad, which is doctors’ aversion to prescribing Narcotics.
For many generations, doctors have been educated on Opioid pain relievers as being highly addictive and that prescribing these kinds of medications should be under strict guidelines for a patient near death. Statements from the LA Times indicate Mundipharma consultants and executives call this aversion, “Opiophobia,” which must be overcome to succeed in the new markets abroad.