In the CE article ‘Study Reveals Big Pharma Paid Doctors Millions of Dollars To Push Opioids,’ Kalee Brown makes a cogent argument that the Opioid epidemic, which is responsible for at least two thirds of the record 72,000 overdose deaths in the U. S. last year, is the product of a carefully crafted strategy that stems from a sinister alignment of self-interest between Big Pharma, doctors, and the government. This strategy, it would seem, has no limits to its wickedness:
It’s no secret that Big Pharma is a money-making machine. Many even suggest that they design drugs with negative side effects so you remain sick, thus growing their market of sick consumers — a view supported by the reality that doctors get compensated for selling you drugs, not for getting you off of them.
It’s not as though there is not a clear understanding about this among awakening individuals. There are numerous people who individually and collectively are fighting against this evil. Many have spurred efforts by city and state officials to sue Purdue Pharma, makers of the ruthlessly marketed opioid Oxycontin that is at the center of this epidemic. These efforts have made some inroads, in that they have stopped their aggressive marketing campaign in the US.
How They Defend Themselves
Typically, Purdue Pharma will argue in court that they should not be to blame for the recommendations of doctors or the free will choices of patients. This despite the fact that court cases have revealed that one of the prongs of their marketing strategy is to get doctors to minimize the dangers of Oxycontin in their discussions with their patients, or to deceive the doctors altogether about the dangers of Oxycontin.
Before becoming aware of how the pharmaceutical industry worked, I would have assumed (naively) that if a pharmaceutical company saw that its medications were causing harm to people (let alone an epidemic of overdose deaths) they would quickly take their product off the market. And short of that, doctors would simply stop prescribing the drug to their patients in deference to the Hippocratic oath they took which dictates primarily to “Do no harm.” Alas, far too many doctors do not take their oath to heart, preferring instead to defer their responsibility to the recommendations of regulatory agencies like the FDA and continue to take their profits for writing up prescriptions.
As for taking Oxycontin off the market? Well everybody knows by now that profit, not human health or even human life, is the sole decision-making marker for pharmaceutical giants like Purdue Pharma. And despite the inconvenience of all these lawsuits, they are willing to deal with those so long as the legal costs remain covered by the outlandish profits that Oxycontin and other opioids continue to generate.
Staying In The Game
In their minds, there are still too many people who are in pain and want that pain alleviated the easy way, through drugs, they are willing to listen to their doctors, and trust the FDA and other government agencies. In other words, there is still too much money to be made to actually take the product off the market.
Having said that, with sales in decline, and restrictions now on their formerly successful marketing maneuvers, how can they position themselves to keep the lucrative Oxycontin game going longer?