Big Pharma made billions by knowingly creating the prescription drug epidemic :: Options Okanagan Treatment Centers in Kelowna, British Columbia treating heroin, fentanyl, drug addiction and recovery.
The Los Angeles Times has conducted an investigation that revealed that the pharmaceutical company behind OxyContin, the opiate painkiller, was aware that the drug is highly addictive but still continue pushing it anyway.
The pills started being produced by Purdue Pharma over 20 years ago, claiming that it helps relieve severe and chronic pain for 12 hours continuously, which is over two times the time that generic drugs could. The representatives of the maker of the drug promised doctors that their patients would just need to take 2 pills daily to experience relief from pain for 24 hours.
However, this was not true, and Purdue Pharma was aware of this, according to the facts by the LA Times.
The results were both devastating and excruciating. OxyContin usually wears off hours much earlier in most patients and besides their underlying pain recurring, they also suffer from drug withdrawal symptoms.
The LA Times describes OxyContin as heroin’s “chemical cousin”, and that patients that depend on it usually also experience an intense craving for the drug in case it wears off early.
The LA Times obtained thousands of pages of confidential documents from Purdue and learned that executives have been aware of the problem for decades.
Clinical trials held before the drug even hit the market revealed that most patients were not actually getting 12 hours of relief. Since the drug was launched in 1996, the company has received additional evidence, including reports from its sales representatives, complaints from doctors, and even independent research studies, the LA Times reveals.
The company also held fast to its claim of 12-hour relief to protect its revenue. The market dominance of OxyContin and the high price reaching as high as several hundred dollars a bottle hinge on the 12-hour duration. In absence of this, the drug offers little advantage over cheaper options.
The company dominated the market and achieved a high asking price a bottle, but this all depended on the claim that it actually relieved pain for 12 hours. It became the best-selling painkiller in the country reaping revenues of a staggering $31billion.
However, since the drug failed to last the 12 hours it promised in most patients, doctors started prescribing it in shorter intervals, which resulted in somewhat of a company panic. Reps from Purdue were mobilized and one manager actually encouraged her team to put an end to the trend and stated that the shorter prescription time interval would have to be nipped in the bud according to the documents that the LA Times reviewed.
Reps from the company encouraged doctors to prescribe higher doses of OxyContin instead of shorter intervals, but that creates a higher risk of overdose or even death according to the LA Times. Data the paper reviewed reveals that over 50 percent of long-term patients are on doses that are dangerously high.
The consequences of this have been serious on the broad scale. As pointed out by the LA Times, OxyContin is being held responsible for triggering the opioid epidemic the country faces that has claimed about 190,000 lives since 1999.
The painstaking report by the LA Times involves internal documents from Purdue spanning 3 decades, from government investigations and court cases. Journalists even interviewed pain treatment, pharmacology, and prescription medication addiction experts.
One patient, speaking on the record, started taking OxyContin to deal with chronic back pain after being thrown off a horse when she was just 14. She experienced the symptom described in the report.
She experienced some relief for the first 2 to 3 hours, but it quickly became a nightmare once the drug wore off.
She stated that she would be constantly checking the clock to know when it was time to medicate. She stated that her entire nervous system was on red alert and described the experience as being in hell.
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