States Fight Back Against Big Pharma on Opioids

Big Pharma’s at it again and this time States are fighting back on corporate shenanigans on Opioids that are costing lives and colossal public resources. Most people who keep up on the news these days know that the United States faces a problem with addiction and abuse to Opiate-based drugs. An article from the Ring Of Fire network drills down on a specific set of Big Pharma culprits and the response led by the Offices of the Attorneys General of 36 States. This is an overdue response to an epidemic of catastrophic proportions.

Specifically, the actions undertaken focus on the depredations of three Pharmaceutical companies; Reckitt Benkiser, Indivior, and MonoSol Rx. Reckitt Benkiser, up until 2009, held the main patent for the production of Suboxone, controlling 85% of the market. When the patent was set to expire in that year the company teamed up with Indivior and MonoSol RX to engage in a bit of what is referred to as “product hopping”. What this entails is that through a minor product alteration a corporation can re-brand an existent product, thereby allowing them to maintain a monopoly. In this instance, Suboxone has been available as a pill. The three companies named petitioned for a new patent involving dispensing of the drug via oral, soluble strips. This repackaging had nothing to do with a concern around public health or of patient well-being and everything to do with the hundreds of millions in profit the companies stood to lose if they didn’t retain a large market share of Suboxone.

The 36 Attorneys General have joined together and filed suit alleging violations of State and Federal anti-trust laws. The aforementioned companies engaged in these practices to curtail the production of generic versions of Suboxone which would have undercut their profit margins. Consumers, over the last seven years, have also been forced to pay inflated prices for the needed drug–Suboxone greatly reduces the symptoms accompanying withdrawal from opiates.

Big Pharma’s Profiteering from a Problem it Helped Create

As reported by both Raw Story and the L.A. Times earlier this year, another corporation, Purdue Pharmaceuticals, was in large part responsible for the epidemic fostered by the false marketing of the drug Oxycontin. Purdue had advised Doctors and Medical Providers that patients would only have to take one Oxycontin pill every 12 hours to alleviate pain. However, this claim was untrue and Purdue knew it. That did not deter the company, in any way, from marketing and distributing the drug widely. Essentially, Oxycontin is a legal form of heroin. Tolerance builds exponentially along the way and withdrawal from the drug is horrendous.  As the Times coverage pointed out, nearly 200,000 people have died from opiate overdoses since 1999 and Oxycontin accounts for a high percentage of those deaths.

According to the Federal Government there are over 2.1 million people in the United States addicted to opiates with approximately one quarter of these being addicted to heroin–the rest are addicted to other prescription opiate-based medications. There’s some cross-over between these groups of people, also. Many people who began their dependency on legal drugs such as Oxycontin were then taken off improperly and they, in turn, continued their substance use by securing drugs from illicit sources.

Across the nation, States and Municipalities are facing colossal problems spawned by the policies and practices of Big Pharma. Clearly, the prime-mover at work in these corporate interests is the placement of profits over the lives of human beings and the communities they live in.

Pharmaceutical Companies Conspire to Keep Opioid Addicts from Getting Help – Now States Are Fighting Back

… is a vital treatment in helping addicts to get the proverbial monkey off their back – and two drug companies have been conspiring to keep the price inflated by blocking the manufacture of generic versions by competitors. Pharmaceutical Companies Conspire to Keep Opioid Addicts from Getting Help – Now States Are Fighting Back

 

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