Big Pharma created the legal opiate addiction epidemic and its outgrowth, rampant heroin abuse, because pharmaceutical corporations’ own addiction to profit arguably trumps any concern it may have had for patients. Though the accusation may seem harsh, the evidence has never been more apparent thanks to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times — which presents a scathing condemnation of the company behind the notorious painkiller, OxyContin.
Two decades ago, Purdue Pharma began marketing OxyContin — a chemical cousin to heroin — with the claim its 12-hour “smooth and sustained” dosing would revolutionize the treatment of pain. However, the claim is not only problematic in that its duration is often hours less than promised — leading patients to experience symptoms of withdrawal — but Purdue knew that before the painkiller ever hit the market.
As the Times discovered, Purdue’s push to market OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in history, flatly and continually ignored all reports from sales reps, complaints from doctors, and independent research on the drug — all in the name of profit.
Indeed, profit Purdue has — the company has reaped some $31 billion in revenue over OxyContin’s troubled 20-year stranglehold on the painkiller market. And ignoring complaints and research contradictory to its extended-relief claim is key to Purdue’s continued success with the hundreds-of-dollars-per-bottle drug, since milder opiate painkillers may, indeed, offer similar if not more effective benefits.
Because Purdue pressures doctors and sales reps to maintain the 12-hour dosing strictures, doctors often increase the prescribed potency.
More than half of long-term OxyContin users are on doses that public health officials consider dangerously high, according to an analysis of nationwide prescription data conducted for theTimes.
In examining the Times’ report, it becomes apparent Purdue has placed striving for profit above any iota of concern for suffering patients, the cycle of abuse and addiction, or the burgeoning health crisis due to opioid medication. But it isn’t OxyContin, in itself, driving the crisis — it’s the company’s insistence on the strictures of 12-hour dosing cycles, since the drug’s effects wear off much sooner for many. (Click to Article)