It is now widely known that the opioid epidemic has negatively affected millions of individuals across the nation. Officials in Texas and other states have put various methods in place to combat the widespread problem that places countless individuals in danger every day; some states are even struggling to keep up with the overwhelming numbers of overdoses that occur.
With many explanations as to how, exactly, the problem has become so catastrophic, one that has stood out in recent discussion is that of pharmacy companies and their control over prescriptions. Could these companies really be to blame? Some experts point toward other causes, but many fear that such companies have left a bigger mess in their prescription drug wake than expected.
Exposing Big Pharma’s Influence
An article in Vox News helps place the opioid crisis in perspective, breaking down the tactics some big pharmaceutical companies have carried out in order to sell higher volumes of precription drugs. Vox uncovers the mask of big pharma companies such as Insys Therapeutics, manufacturer of the fentanyl drug Subsys. Insys allegedly gave misleading information regarding the drug to insurers, who then financially assisted individuals with Subsys when they did not need it. This was an unsettling discovery, indeed: Vox went on to share that these greed-fueled pursuits on the part of the pharmacy giant has ultimately helped fuel the opioid crisis.
Addressing the Problem
The Atlantic draws similarities of this current issue to the big tobacco industry exposure in the 1990s, noting that many state officials have begun blaming pharmaceutical companies for downplaying the dangers of addiction from prescription drugs. In fact, some have already filed lawsuits against these companies, accusing them of practicing manipulative marketing tactics to sell their products to trusting doctors and customers. While there are differences between the opioid epidemic and the tobacco settlement agreement twenty years ago — some say that proving the damage from prescription drugs could be difficult — many states are pressing forward, demanding compensation for various expenses used to tackle the problem that continues to claim the lives of countless Americans each day.