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Posts Tagged ‘opioids’

Infamous Drug Cartels

USA Today reported in its February 13, 2018, edition that “The five biggest opioid manufacturers shelled out more than $10 million to patient advocacy groups, professional medical societies and affiliated individuals – who then “echoed and amplified” messages that encouraged use of those highly addictive drugs, which set the stage for the opioid epidemic.

That is according to a Senate committee investigation, released Monday, that examined the financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and outside groups from 2012 through 2017.”

The five corporations investigated by the committed were Purdue Pharma, Jassen Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, Depomed and Insys Therapeutics. In terms of global sales in 2015, these are the world’s biggest opioid drug makers.

These corporations gave their millions to such recipients as U.S. Pain Foundation, the National Pain Foundation and the Academy fo Integrative Pain Management. The report finds that the American Academy of Pain Medicine and American Pain Society “…promoted opioids as safe and effective for treating chronic pain and minimized the risk of addiction.” The report also points out that “…the Academy of Pain Medicine and the Center for Practical Bioethics spoke out against federal efforts to limit opioid prescribing.” Apparently, the bioethics of those who receive industry money is on the side of the industry. The industry and all their paid flunkies and flunkie organizations are as corrupt as the representatives of the US government, which is the most corrupt government in the industrialized world.

Note in the very first quote above listed “affiliated individuals” as recipients who received some of that $10 million in cash. Those folks are called medical doctors. Apparently, they are being paid to prescribe opioids to patients.

The day the report was released, bad citizen and opioid manufacturer Purdue announced: “…its employees will no longer visit doctors’ offices to pitch opioids, and it will cut its sales force by half to 200.” We will never know how many pharmaceutical salespeople offered thousands of doctors a little under the table money on behalf of their employers to prescribe opioids with abandon and without common sense to unsuspecting patients, and all for a little extra and perhaps unreported cash.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who launched the investigation, “called Purdue’s announcement “‘a major step forward’ but said the Senate report is ‘the tip of the iceberg’ in terms of how drug company money shapes health care policy debates and legislative outcomes.” In other words, Big Pharma is still calling the shots in the halls of Congress and in the white house, as well as determining what is said in the corporate news media and what politicians of both major political parties say.

The greater the opioid crisis in fueling addiction, the greater are the profits of the big drug manufacturers. Affluent shareholders and millionaire top executive officers would be far less wealthy without the opioid addictions they have created through the use of their money and corruption.

Mylan’s share price rose from $6.26 in 2008 to $42.14 on February 16, 2018. Depomed’s share price rose from $1.49 in 2008 to $7.44 on February 16, 2018. Isays has dropped 400+ percent since 2008. Janssen and Purdue are privately held companies. Without the sale of opioids, these companies would be in far worse financial positions nowadays.

The rich have corrupted your government, disarmed the US Constitution in the process, and created an addiction that redistributes the health of members of the 99 percent straight into their own pockets via greater corporate profits, rising share prices and surging dividends. The affluent and their corporations have fueled the crisis, and not a soul that I am aware of is going to prison for bribery or conspiracy to create a public health crisis.

That is how corrupt your government has become over the last thirty-five years. Corporate profits, share prices, and dividends are more important than human health. Just ask any Republican politician in Washington D.C. and most Democratic Party members, as well.

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The entire Republican Party (Think John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump) and nine-tenths of the Democratic Party (Think Hillary and Bill and Ron Wyden) managing the US federal government have been committed to redistributing trillions of dollars of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. The result has been wonderful for people who are already rich, and pretty much own the politicians of both major political parties as they do dogs on leashes. This has been devastating to those whose incomes and wealth have been redistributed to the rich and powerful leash holders.

According to AARP Bulletin, “Older Americans are selling their prescription painkillers to drug dealers to raise needed cash.”

Written by Joe Eaton, the story begins with “Over a span of about two years, Ajellon Dedeaux, a 29-year-old drug dealer, sold thousands of prescription painkillers on the illicit drug market near Sacramento, California. Finding customers was easy. The hard part was finding a supply of pills. A reliable source?

“Older people,” Dedeaux said in an email sent from a federal prison in Arizona. Dedeaux is serving twelve years for drug dealing.

According to Eaton, “Some (Retired Americans) sell their pills due to a financial crisis or to make ends meet.”

Retired Americans are forced to do this due to poverty and they also find it easy to gain prescriptions from doctors. Of course, if their insurance covers most of the cost of the pills, they can and are forced to illegally sell the painkillers to drug dealers.

“If they discover they can make $20 a pill on the street, then it becomes a temptation to supplement their income,” said Charlie Chichon, executive director of the Ntional Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.

According to convicted drug dealer Austin Serb, “A patient who is prescribed three pills a day can make up to $3600 a month,” which may be far more than many retired people receive from Social Security, 401Ks, IRAs, and pensions.

Of course, this is one of the side effects of ensuring that 36 percent of the yearly income produced in the United States goes to the 1 percent, up from 8 percent in 1980. Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden is most likely the biggest scam artist in Washington D.C. Wyden pretends to support seniors while voting to exports tens of millions of jobs overseas, including pensions.

When Social Security can easily be strengthened with expanded payments to seniors, simply by eliminating the cap currently at $127,200, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden continues his cozy relationship with rich Wall Street folks, which is why he has always made certain to do nothing but keep exporting our tax paying jobs overseas. Wyden’s Wall Street masters do not want the cap eliminated. One of Wyden’s favorite ploys is to pretend he cares about seniors while gutting programs that help them, like exporting jobs overseas by the millions and thereby redistributing payments to social security by the millions to the uber rich whom he supports.

Click here for the story from Eaton.

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