America is beset with a serious and deadly opioid epidemic for which Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson are being blamed and sued.
To begin with, here are the opioids:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Hycodan)
- Morphine (MS Contin, Kadian)
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percoset)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
Americans have an insatiable hunger for mind altering drugs. Marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines are among a plethora of drugs relished by pleasure seekers. It is that insatiable hunger which keeps the Mexican drug cartels not only in business, but also in control of parts of our southern neighbor.
Opioids are now competing with those drugs. Oxycontin, which is produced by Purdue Pharma, and Fentanyl have led to thousands of overdoses. Those overdoses have been costly to the cities wherein they occurred.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed to recover those costs against Purdue Pharma, against generic pain killer producer Teva Pharmaceuticals and against Johnson & Johnson which supplied Purdue and Teva with the narcotic ingredients they needed to produce drugs like Oxycontin. They are being blamed for pushing their drugs to the extent that America is now experiencing the opioid epidemic.
Teva recently agreed to an $85 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma. The settlement probably cost them a lot less than had they gone on trial.
But are Purdue, Teva and Johnson & Johnson really responsible for America’s opioid epidemic? Of course, they are not! Lawsuits against big pharma are akin to lawsuits against gunmakers. Gunmakers, instead of the crazies and criminals, have long been blamed for the gun violence in this country but they were given immunity against lawsuits by an act of congress.
When Purdie and Teva were touting their drugs to doctors, they were doing what every pharmaceutical company does with their products. Oxycontin, for example, is a legitimate product, unlike heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.
There are two kinds of opioid abusers. Thee are the pleasure seekers with their insatiable hunger for mind altering drugs. And there are the patients who became addicted because their doctors over-prescribed drugs like Oxycontin.
So, let’s put the blame where it really belongs. We are in an opioid epidemic because pleasure seekers crave them and because doctors over-prescribe them.