Pharma Dirty Tricks
This post (and the included article) speaks of a topic about pharmaceutical companies that is slightly out of my field, although Big Pharma gets on my target list regarding psychopharmaceuticals and anything that changes brain chemistry (which is pretty much ANY medicine that crosses the brain blood barrier – in other words, ALL of them).
So, rather than targeting psycho-drugs here, I’m on the warpath about Pharma’s handling of the painkiller issue.
And this is unspeakable. Unconscionable. But then, we are being conditioned to accept this cynical approach toward their ‘control of the masses in order to strip our pockets!’
Read this article, here.
It would make my hair curl if I had any.
To precis it … a pharmaceutical company that produces “much-needed” painkillers that contain opioids (like codeine), is so concerned about its side-effects that it has decided to name the constipation so produced by its drug, as a new syndrome, or illness or condition.
As such, they have designed a new drug that “works on” the way the bowel “slows” because of opioid ingestion. The companies, AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo, are the makers of Movantik, a drug designed to treat opioid-induced constipation.
But Movantik specifically targets a consumer’s ability to resist addiction, making it far worse than just needing a crap! The person becomes much less addictive-resilient to all other medications, drugs, legal and otherwise.
The Pharma execs say, “we need to have a drug like this to treat this side effect.”
And do we not take a pause and say “what’s wrong with this picture?”
Look at this site.
Additionally, you might want to read here, about how Australia – specifically Tasmania, is the fourth largest producer of the opium poppy from which pharmaceutical opioids are produced. … worth $290 million to Tasmania per annum.
And if you read this article, you’ll see that other parts of our country are trying to get in on the act. If that happens, and with our great expanse of arable land, we’ll become the world’s biggest grower of the opium poppy.
Is it any wonder why grumpy old dudes like me are so hot under the collar about pharmaceutical hands in our pockets and fingers down our throats, to the public’s detriment.
But then, the ‘public’ doesn’t seem to give a s**t. The pun is intended.
Eli Lilly, founder of one of the biggest pharma companies in the world (that produces Prozac), said, in the 1850s, “any drug that does not have side effects is not a drug at all.”
If you were one of the 100 million Americans who tuned in to the Super Bowl on Sunday, you probably watched a funny black-and-white commercial about a man who can’t poop. Maybe you chuckled at his struggle to find relief, his jealous reaction to a squatting dog and the toilet paper on a woman’s shoe: To many people, constipation is a joke, the unpleasant effect of eating too much pizza. But behind the poop humor is a health crisis that’s far more serious. It’s a disturbing true story about the limitations of American health care, the outsize influence of Big Pharma and the unseen trauma of illness and addiction.
The man in the commercial, titled “Envy,” is afflicted with opioid-induced constipation, a common side effect of opioid painkillers. The ad encourages viewers to talk to their physicians about medication to manage their OIC and to visit a website called OICisdifferent.com.
The estimated $5 million ad was paid for by pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo, the makers of Movantik, a drug designed to treat opioid-induced constipation. Essentially, it’s a drug that lets you more easily stay hooked on other, more addictive drugs.
The enormous marketing campaign — a TV commercial played during the most-watched TV event of the year — made it seem as though opioid addiction is a natural, widely accepted aspect of American life, the drugs as commonplace in our culture as Heinz ketchup and Bud Light.
Suspicious? You have a right to be. “There must be a reason why they think it’s a smart business decision to invest that much money into an advertisement,” Marisa Hebble, director of the Opioid Task Force in northwestern Massachusetts, told Mic.
Essentially, Movantik is a drug that allows you to more easily stay hooked on other, more addictive drugs.
Opioids are at the heart of one of the country’s most pressing drug addiction problems. The number of Americans who use the opioid heroin is on the rise — as are the number of heroin-related deaths. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of U.S. heroin-related deaths nearly quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The opioid problem is so dire, in fact, that President Barack Obama recently pledged $1.1 billion to fight it.
“More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do from motor vehicle crashes,” Obama said during an October visit to Charleston, West Virginia, according to the New York Times. “The majority of those overdoses involve legal prescription drugs. I don’t have to tell you, this is a terrible toll.”
This is why medical experts told Mic they were alarmed to see the ad during last night’s football game.
“In the midst of an opioid crisis, making it easier for people to stay on opioid medication is a really strange message to be sending,” Hebble said.
Dr. Lewis Nelson, a professor of emergency medicine and toxicology at NYU Langone Medical Center, agreed. “It’s sad, in a way, that the use of this drug has become so prevalent that it’s worth spending several million dollars for a 30-second commercial,” he told Mic. “It’s quite sad.”
The campaign is indicative of a more widespread problem, experts told Mic.
Big Pharma keeps pushing prescription opioids. Doctors keep prescribing them for chronic pain. Patients want them because they provide a more immediate effect than exercise or dietary changes. And this unnerving statistic: The U.S. only makes up around 5% of the world’s population, but we consume 80% of the world’s opioids.
All the while, the human costs are adding up.
What opioids do to your body
Addiction: Derived from the poppy plant, opioids are a family of drugs — including heroin — known to produce euphoric effects. In synthetic form, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, opioids are often prescribed to treat pain.
Many Americans use prescription opioids to treat pain, without developing an addiction. But the U.S. also has a problem with prescription opioid addiction. In 2014, 1.9 million Americans had substance abuse problems involving prescription pain relievers, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
When opioids enter the body, they make their way to the brain, where they’re converted into morphine. Then, they bind to certain receptors in the brain, and stimulate the release of dopamine — a chemical that relieves pain and makes you feel happy. That feeling of intense pleasure is the reason why opioids are so addictive.
The No. 2 problem: They also cause constipation. “Opioids bind to opioid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and slow down the progress of food through the bowel,” Dr. Elizabeth Drew, Medical Director of Summit Behavioral Health, told Mic via email. “This happens to everyone who takes opiates, unless they have another GI condition that may counter it.”
Nearly 100% of people taking prescription opioids experience constipation, Drew said.
“It slows down transit time,” Dr. Ruth Potee, a Massachusetts family physician and the Opioid Task Force’s medical advisor, told Mic. “It’s almost like a paralyzer of the gut.”
This unpleasant side effect is so common among people who take opioids, there are numerous Reddit threads dedicated to discussing the ailment.
The poop issue is real: “I’ve never been so happy to dook before in my life,” one commenter wrote. “Sometimes you go so long without an appearance, you start to wonder if the lbs of food you’ve eaten for a week straight just went into some empty black hole or if it will surely reappear soon.”
When the poop is finally ready after days of constipation, it can be a painful, even frightening, experience. “Always scared when it’s time to shit,” one commenter wrote, “I just hate when that day finally comes and it is so fucking painful,” another said.
This ad “should be a wake-up call” for medicine, doctors say
Last night’s Super Bowl ad revealed one way to treat the problem: more medication. But for medical experts like Potee, it’s not an acceptable solution.
“In general, adding more pills to manage the side effects of the pills you take doesn’t seem like smart medicine,” she said.
If your opioids give you painful side effects, perhaps the best way to solve the problem is to not be on opioids at all, Nelson suggested.
“I think it should be a wake-up call, honestly, for the medical establishment — that that we’ve created such problems with the medications that we use, that we need to have a drug like this to treat this side effect,” he said.
“In reality, most of these people should probably be titrated off their medications,” he continued, “which is a much more holistic way of treating the problem.”
“We’ve really allowed pharmaceutical companies to have the biggest voice here.”
There a host of holistic ways to treat chronic pain that don’t involve addictive drugs, including yoga, massage, meditation and physical therapy. But there are problems with propagating those strategies, Hebble said. Namely, yoga studios and spas tend not to have multimillion-dollar budgets to spend on Super Bowl commercials. And then there’s the matter of health insurance, which may not cover a $150 massage as readily as a bottle of opioids.
“We’ve really allowed pharmaceutical companies to have the biggest voice here,” Hebble said.
In a perfect world, Hebble told Mic, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies would use their money to promote awareness about the dangers of opioids, or to help underserved communities obtain access to more holistic treatments. “We need to move away from ‘there’s a pill for everything!’” she said.
Potee suggested Big Pharma put its big budget “toward doing good research toward drugs that make a difference, like a pain medication that isn’t addictive.”
That $5 million Super Bowl ad budget, Potee said, “could have gone that way — toward helping people.”
The good ol’ CIA states the fact here that “Tasmania is one of the world’s major suppliers of licit opiate products …”
… for the state, which grows up to 50 per cent of the planet’s legal — opiates — from which morphine, codeine and thebaine can be extracted — that relieve the pain of humans throughout the world in the form of medicines such as OxyContin and Nurofen Plus.
It’s a dangerous crop because you don’t know the alkaloid content,” says Rice. “Thebaine is like strychnine in your system.”
Tasmania produces around 90 per cent of the world’s thebaine, which causes convulsions in humans at high doses. In the past two decades thebaine production has eclipsed the old favourite, morphine. A more effective painkiller, thebaine is also much more dangerous,
Australia is one of the biggest producers of legal Opium and opiates, if not the biggest. The Opium grown in Tasmania, Australia is bought by the pharmaceutical market to be turned into medicinal drugs like morphine. The Opium crop brings Tasmania millions of dollars every year and is an important industry for the island state.
Australia produces 50% of the world’s thebaine opium, and is the world’s biggest supplier.
Before researching and writing this post, it’s something I just didn’t know!