The opioid crisis in this country is reaching epidemic proportions. It affects small towns as well as large metropolises. It ruins the lives of young and old, poor and wealthy. All the while, pharmaceutical companies were paying huge sums of money to doctors promoting prescription opioids.
According to new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, pharmaceutical companies promoting prescription opioids made more than $46 million in payments to doctors across the United States in a 29-month period with nearly half of the payments linked to the powerful but lethal drug fentanyl. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
“These findings,” the study authors wrote, “should prompt an examination of the extent to which industry payments to physicians influence opioid prescribing.” The payments, the study authors cautioned, “may impede national efforts to reduce over prescribing.”
While drug safety advocates are trying to stop the drug epidemic in this country, the pharmaceutical companies are enticing doctors with cash payments to increase their profits on prescription opioids that are causing addiction and death.
More than 90 Americans die each day after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which calls the misuse and addiction to opioids “a serious national health crisis.”
In 2014, according to government statistics, more than 28,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose, accounting for 61 percent of all drug overdose fatalities that year. The following year, there were more than 33,000 deaths from opioid overdoses, more than 63 percent of overdose deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the drug overdose death rate increased from 12.3 per 100,000 people in 2010 to 16.3 in 2015. The death rate increases were seen in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The CDC found that the increase was most likely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl and heroin.
However, it doesn’t help matters when physicians are being enticed to write more prescriptions for drugs such as fentanyl. When the prescriptions stop, those who have become addicted to the painkilling drugs seek them on the street illegally.
These new revelations concerning Big Pharma demonstrate those who guide the industry have no conscience and only one concern-increase profits at any cost, even when the cost is mounting human lives.
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