Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Who is Responsible for Drug Addiction?

3/28/17 Washington Post:
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri demanded information Tuesday from five top opioid manufacturers, saying she would investigate their alleged role in the drug epidemic responsible for more than 200,000 overdose deaths since 2000.
“This epidemic is the direct result of a calculated sales and marketing strategy major opioid manufacturers have allegedly pursued over the past 20 years to expand their market share and increase dependency on powerful — and often deadly — painkillers,”
McCaskill, who is the ranking Democrat of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote to company executives. “To achieve this goal, manufacturers have reportedly sought, among other techniques, to downplay the risk of addiction to their products and encourage physicians to prescribe opioids for all cases of pain and in high doses.”
McCaskill sent letters to Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Insys Therapeutics, Mylan, and Depomed, which she said make the top-five-selling prescription painkillers. She is seeking sales and marketing materials, any studies the companies might have conducted about the addictive properties of their drugs, information on compliance with legal settlements and figures on donations to advocacy groups.
The problem is real, nut notice it isn't individual addicts, or prescribing doctors.  Sort of like blaming gun makers for "overmarketing" of guns.

1 comment:

Steve said...

How does this square with reports of doctors not prescribing more effective drugs for people with severe pain problems because of fears they'll be investigated for over-prescribing opioids?

I'm sure there are a good number of unscrupulous doctors out there willing to give people whatever they want, but drug makers telling doctors to prescribe, prescribe, prescribe when those doctors know the hammer could easily come down on them and end their careers seems silly. Surely it's easy to track prescriptions for controlled drugs and find out which doctors' prescriptions seem excessive.

A few related items.

A friend, when starting his dental career, worked in a clinic and he said people would come it and want their teeth pulled so they could get pain meds. Imagine that, having good (or maybe not) teeth removed just to feed your habit.

I saw a story out of England where people are stealing wheelie bins and setting them on fire because, depending on the paint used, they can get high by inhaling the fumes. I guess some colors are better than others.

I see a ton of commercials on TV for addiction counseling services where you can call and they'll hook you up with a treatment center near you. Of course, that's along with all the commercials for lawyers seeking to cash in on drug lawsuits. For a while there were a lot of annoying commercials for Eliquis about how you could up your game from Warfarin. The other night I saw a lawyer commercial for Eliquis lawsuits.