Manal Haddad

Why the Opioid Crisis Will Hit Big Pharma Hard

Pain medication is one of the largest selling medications that millions of people purchase globally. Due to the fact that medical advancements regarding the neurological system are still in development, for many, the pain medication is the sole option. Whether they’re living with an injury that causes chronic pain or they need them for a short period of time, it has been becoming visibly alarming that these opioids have an addictive nature.

In fact, opioid addiction has become extremely widespread. In 2013, statistics showcased that around 1.9 million people in the U.S were struggling with substance abuse related to the use of opioids. By 2015, this number had jumped. Today, a minimum of 190,000 deaths can be connected to the abuse of opioids. Overdose through opioids has become alarmingly common and increasingly widespread throughout the U.S.

Avoiding Responsibility

Despite the fact that the pharma industry was formed to create a medication that would treat the various complex ailments in the human body, big pharmaceutical companies have been less than ethical in their approach here. In fact, some of the drugs that have been released into the market have been less about curing ailments and more about developing an addiction. It can be said that these opioids have been in the marketplace since the ’90s.

Before the ’90s, these opioids were only kept for severe pain cases due to the fact that the drug had addictive tendencies that were very similar to heroin. These opioids might provide short-term relief from the pain but the long-term effects they have on the mind and body make them unfit for regular consumption.

However, the first and the most common opioid is Oxycontin, which had been released in the marketplace as a non-addictive drug with a claim for being suitable to treat any kind of pain. This false advertising along with aggressive lobbying tactics laid down the foundation for the opioid epidemic which is quickly spiraling out of control.

The Course of Action

Over the years that opioid abuse has been taking place, the pharma industry has remained noticeably blind to the impact it is making. In 2010, a total of 254 subscriptions for opioids were filled. This is a huge amount and if it was shared out evenly by the public, it is possible to medicate every adult in the U.S. easily for a time period of a month with so many opioids.

Yet, the pharma industry has continued to churn out these same opioids as they were able to pocket a total of $11 billion from the sales of these opioids alone. Each year, the death toll increases and finally, there has been a call to action by the President of the U.S that the pharma industry must answer for the destruction of the many lives over the years. While there are efforts being made to help people with opioid abuse problems, the pharma industry, and many others are sitting with bated breath, wondering what is going to happen next.

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