Monday, October 10, 2016

GREED FILES - The U.S. Drug Cartel and the Opioid Crisis

"How drug companies helped drive the opioid crisis" PBS NewsHour 10/6/2016

aka "A Primer on Incentivizing for BIG Profit"


SUMMARY:  The abuse of opioids has become a major public health concern; more than 28,000 people died by overdose in 2014.  According to reporting by STAT News, drug companies downplayed the addictive effects of opioid drugs in the late 1990s, assuring doctors that they could be safely used for chronic pain and incentivized their use.  Hari Sreenivasan talks to journalist David Armstrong.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  The abuse of opioids remains a major public health concern around the country.

The federal government says more than 28,000 people died by overdose in 2014.  That's the most recent year for nationwide data.  The health news site STAT has been reporting on the problem and what has been driving it.

Journalist David Armstrong sat down with Hari Sreenivasan recently.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  David, your investigation looks at a number of big pharmaceutical countries that you say helped sow the seeds for some of this epidemic that we have today.  How so?

DAVID ARMSTRONG, STAT:  Well, the way they sowed the seeds was by making this drug widely used.

And the way they did that was to downplay the addictive properties of this drug when marketing it to doctors, in a way that was later shown to be false and misleading.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Now, doctors can prescribe drugs off-label for something that it wasn't originally designed to, but how were the pharma companies abusing this?

DAVID ARMSTRONG:  Well, they were primarily abusing it in the way they were assuring doctors that these powerful opioids that are a controlled substance would not be addictive in the way that they later proved to be addictive, and could be used for things like chronic pain, which we now know they're not very effective at.

So they were able to broaden the market through a series of misrepresentations and through a series of aggressive marketing tactics.

No comments: