Big Pharma, Support Groups Spent Nearly $900 Million To Prevent Painkiller Restrictions
A recent report revealed that massive expenditures and lobbying efforts by Big Pharma have ensured the unfettered legality of the opioid painkiller. Indeed, their endeavors may have rivaled or even surpassed anti-gun lobbying initiatives.
Over the years, a myriad of bills have been considered by state governments, many which would have reduced the liberties taken with painkiller prescriptions by physicians and others. Unfortunately, few of those bills ever passed, mostly to do with aggressive initiatives by drugmakers. In fact, Big Pharma spent more money in 1998 battling opioid restrictions than even tobacco groups did that year.
All told, the painkiller industry, including supportive groups (i.e. the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network) spent at least $880 million for lobbying and political campaign contributions.
On average, over 1,300 lobbyists were engaged by Big Pharma to maintain their presence in state capitals, and be prepared to stand their ground if confronted by anti-opioid political activity.
In 2012, legislators were reportedly bombarded with pleas regarding an “epidemic of chronic pain.” A report claimed that 40%, or 100 million Americans suffered from this condition. However, the study failed to mention the starkly rising numbers of abuse, addiction, and overdose. In fact, by that time, the number of overdoses had quadrupled since 1999, just 3 or so years after Purdue began making Oxycontin a household word.
Way back in 2007, Purdue Pharma paid a staggering $600 million in fines for misleading doctors, patients, and others about OxyContin’s highly addictive nature. But in the last ten years alone, Purdue Pharma has reportedly made more than $22 billion from the sales of opioids.
So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been the only federal entity to publicly issue advisory guidelines on opioid prescribing, in which prescriptions for chronic pain are discouraged, unless used for cancer or end-of-life related conditions.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A, Psychology