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Greg Webb
Greg Webb
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Big Pharma and the FDA’s Drug Approval Process

2 comments

The Washington Post recently reported that the pharmaceutical industry’s claims over the past ten years about certain pain- killing drugs, such as OxyContin, not being addictive have been largely false. Who were they kidding? Probably every single American knows someone, or is aware of someone’s adult child, who has fallen prey to the addictiveness of painkillers such as OxyContin. That drug’s label approved by the FDA noted, “the risks of addiction were ‘reported to be small.’”

According to the article, doctors who prescribed OxyContin and thought it was safe apparently did not fully realize the actual addictiveness of what they were prescribing. Barbara Howard, whose daughter Leslie died of an overdose in 2009, developed a drug dependence following knee surgery. (The Washington Post, 12/30/2012)

The epidemic of addiction to painkillers has become widespread throughout the country and is estimated to be greater, in numbers of people addicted, than heroin or cocaine. Powerful opioid drugs include such painkillers as morphine, heroin and brand name prescriptions such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. In years past, they were prescribed as last resorts for people who struggled with the terrible pain of cancer and other illnesses. In recent years, their applications have expanded to prescriptions for arthritis, back pain and other joint pain.

In the case of OxyContin, its approval by the FDA may have been influenced by the panel that formed its opioid drug policy—outside experts, five of whom had financial relationships with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. James Heins, spokesperson for Purdue Pharma, might be the master of understatement, having said, “it is implausible that our marketing caused an upsurge in overall prescriptions of opioids or in the incidence of abuse” because Purdue controls only a small portion of the market. Is that not the purpose of their marketing?

2 Comments

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  1. dave says:
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    The current excessive use of opioids represents the moral and mental laziness of pharmaceutical companies and medicine. Clearly, medicine wishes to serve their own financial gain at the expense of the public good. Doctors refuse to have education in pain care- after all they believe government and the public has no right to require them to have any competence in treating painful conditions. And pain is the major reason why peiople seek medical care. The FDA and politicians hhavefiddled over opiods and pain care issues whilst people in pain burn. We need a new FDA Commissioner and new FDA staff for the FDA serves the best interests of pharmaceutical companies and regards the public as ignorant sheep that dont deserve better than opioids when it comes to pain care.

  2. dave says:
    up arrow

    The current excessive use of opioids represents the moral and mental laziness of pharmaceutical companies and medicine. Clearly, medicine wishes to serve their own financial gain at the expense of the public good. Doctors refuse to have education in pain care- after all they believe government and the public has no right to require them to have any competence in treating painful conditions. And pain is the major reason why peiople seek medical care. The FDA and politicians hhavefiddled over opiods and pain care issues whilst people in pain burn. We need a new FDA Commissioner and new FDA staff for the FDA serves the best interests of pharmaceutical companies and regards the public as ignorant sheep that dont deserve better than opioids when it comes to pain care.