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Earlier this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent for a new drug to treat opioid addiction. Among the six inventors on the patent is Richard Sackler, a member of the family that owns Purdue Pharma. Purdue Pharma, where Sackler once served as chairman and president, is the company that produces and markets OxyContin, an opioid pain reliever.
OxyContin is a highly addictive opioid drug, that many believe is responsible for the growing epidemic of opioid addiction. It seems now that Mr. Sackler, whose family has profited billions of dollars through its pharmaceutical ventures, will not only profit from a dangerous, highly-addictive drug – he’ll now profit from the treatment.
To fully understand the impact of this information, it’s important to understand the role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family in the opioid crisis.
In 2016, there were over 63,000 deaths attributed to drug overdose in the U.S. Of those deaths, 66% were attributed to opioids. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across many U.S. states against Purdue Pharma claiming that they misled doctors and patients about the addictive potential of its drugs while aggressively marketing them, advising doctors that not using opioids for pain may violate the Hippocratic Oath.
Although some top employees of Purdue Pharma have pled guilty for intentionally misleading doctors about the dangers of opioids, the company vehemently denies any responsibility for the current addiction epidemic. Meanwhile, Richard Sackler also owns an unknown company called Rhodes Pharma, which is one of the largest manufacturers of generic opioid medication.
Not only do the Sacklers profit from one of the most dangerous drugs in history, they also control a large portion of the generic market.
And they’ve made great effort to indoctrinate the medical industry. According to the Annual Review of Public Health:
Between 1996 and 2002, Purdue Pharma funded more than 20,000 pain-related educational programs through direct sponsorship or financial grants and launched a multifaceted campaign to encourage long-term use of [opioid painkillers] for chronic non-cancer pain. As part of this campaign, Purdue provided financial support to the American Pain Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the Joint Commission, pain patient groups, and other organizations. In turn, these groups all advocated for more aggressive identification and treatment of pain, especially use of [opioid painkillers].”
Now Sackler, whose family is worth over $13 billion, will profit from the treatment of an addiction crisis for which the family’s company is largely responsible.
Pharmaceuticals are a major industry, spending over $240 billion on lobbying alone in the past decade. And with a global annual revenue of over $1 trillion, it’s no surprise that the industry spends more money on marketing than they do on research. These are businesses, and while breakthroughs in medical research can help save lives, the companies that own them seem far more concerned about profits than patients.
What we put into our bodies matters. The truth is that the side effects of the drugs we’re prescribed are often worse than the original illness. Big pharma controls a massive amount of medical school curricula, so even well-meaning doctors may simply not have the information they need to make the right decision.
As prescription pain medication becomes more and more prevalent, it’s important to remember that there are many natural and safe ways to treat pain before turning to pharmaceutical interventions. Be sure to work with a holistic doctor to find the pain management techniques that work best for your specific needs.
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Margaret Looby says
Unfortunately Ty, I was diagnosed with SLE in 2001, in my 30’s, with 3 small children because my spine was permanently damaged by Transverse Myelitis. I saw a top notch guy in NYC at the time, he had seen only 4 cases before me and they are all paralyzed. Treatment with opioids has after 7 years in bed, let me be on my feet again. Believe me, I can still not walk 50 feet, only shop in a store with a cart & have not been in a mall without a wheelchair in 17 years. This has been a severely limiting disease. I use all the current natural therapies I can to treat my autoimmune condition, I did an awful lot of research back then, it is what the accepted natural treatment is now. I really just wish the original problems were diagnosed sooner, I may not be struggling now. My insurance company will not let me have some of the pain meds I need to stay on my feet, I am back in bed. I understand all the problems surrounding opioids, I was working an an RN when this happened to me. Too bad those of us that really need these meds are being so scrutinized now. In my early 50’s I do not want to give up being on my feet even if it’s only a small amount compared to who I was. I also cannot find a decent, actively accepting new patients Functional Medicine Doctor close enough to get to in northeast NJ. I need help Ty, if you know anyone at all that practices here, please let me know. I desperately want to be on my feet for a longer amount of time! Thank you in advance for anything you can do! I have been a follower of TTAC since day one!
Wow! I totally get what you are saying. My belief is the system has gone way too far the other direction. There is quality of life and if that means opioids in a controlled situation, then fine. I have a relative that would not be able to ride a bike but if he can take one pill, he can exercise……which is important too. Quality of life and mind. So sorry you are in this kind of agony:(
I am an extra table pain patient for over 30 yrs and I have too much pain and only opiodes work. I have a medical cannibis card and cannibis saved my life…literally…but it does nothing for any oainfor me. And there is no opiode crisis….it’s manufactured by the cdc. On,y 1% of prescribed pain meds patients become addicted…they skews with the numbers to include ALL THE ACTUAL DRUG ADDICTS that have died that had opiodes in there system and they always have multiply drugs in them when found dead….but they blame the opiode. It’s a claimed what they are doing to all of us.
Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder. An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin. About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids. – drugabove.gov where are you getting your numbers?
Rachel Fletcher says
I’m sorry that you are struggling Margaret! I used to see a pain management doctor and was appalled that I HAD to take the 4 daily prescribed pills whether I needed them or not! And then have to submit to a drug test to ensure that I was taking them as prescribed. Insanity! I don’t know why the answer is, but the opioid crisis has really caused harm to people who are legitimately in pain. I created an all natural herbal pain relief cream for myself that works so well, I’m not in pain management anymore. http://www.lionsarrow.com
Silvia Logan says
The doctors prescribe all kinds of medications to people that can cause side effects and doctors never warn the patients about it.