Several recent news stories are shedding a disturbing light on “Big Pharma.” These companies tell us daily how they make our lives better; yet, they may not have our best interest as their primary goal. As we saw with the tobacco companies in the 1900s, the primary goal was to sell more drug. And sales will go up when marketing a drug that is so highly addicting. Increasing sales, however, usually does not correlate with improving health. As we learned with tobacco, increasing sales of addicting substances leads to more addiction and death.
Top executives at Insys—a producer of a high-powered fentanyl product—have been indicted by the state of Massachusetts because they were paying doctors to prescribe large doses of their medicine to patients who should not have received them. You can read the details here. I’m sure the product—Subsys—is extremely important to some people who are suffering in pain at the end of their lives. However, to give this highly addicting drug to anyone else is cruel and unethical. The fact that there were multiple executives involved (including the CEO) shows that this thinking was the culture and the norm at Insys. That is a frightening thought.
Also frightening is the recent news of Purdue Pharma’s plans to expand the sale of the highly addicting drug OxyContin worldwide. Purdue has been a major cause of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. through their deceptive promotion of OxyContin as a wonder drug that relieves all pain. Now, because U.S. sales are decreasing, they plan to aggressively peddle their drug throughout the rest of the world. Read about this here. The article shows that Purdue is concentrating its efforts on developing countries—the very people most susceptible to becoming addicted. If you know anyone at the World Health Organization, please tell them to pay attention to this. Our national epidemic, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, will soon spread outside our borders.
Like Big Tobacco, Big Pharma is not interested in making the world better; they are interested in making more money no matter what the cost in lives and suffering. They may deny that—but actions speak louder than words.