Yesterday, I posted about the Joint Commission’s review of the unintended consequences of their emphasis on pain without the proper input, review and feedback systems.
The opioid crisis that this has contributed to have been a disaster for families, communities and health care professionals who are trying to navigate the standards, untrustworthy standards of care, and their medical/social consequences.
One might wonder how Pharma is faring in this crisis. Has there been regulatory, criminal, funding or popular backlash that has hurt their viability?
It would appear not.
- An opioid overdose medication/device was $575 when it was introduced. This seemed kind of expensive, but they had a novel delivery device and, hey, prices will come down once it’s been on the market for a while. Not so fast. That same medication/device is now $4500.
- The 21st Century Cures Act has been considered by many to be a gift to Pharma.
- They are charging outrageous prices for treatment for hepatitis C (a common consequence of illicit opioid addiction) and hiring academic economists and health care experts to publish scholarly articles and convene academic conferences to make the case for their products and pricing.
- The Senate Finance Committee has buried an investigative report on financial ties between drug manufacturers and medical organizations that were setting guidelines for opioid use.
- The manufacturer of the most popular treatment medication has been getting assistance from the National Institute on Drug Abuse while manipulating prices and engaging in aggressive tactics to maintain a monopoly.
- Even after litigation and massive fines, many of these manufacturers seem to be doing very well. For example, Purdue, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, was fined $635,000,000 for misrepresenting the risks of the drug and their business does not appear to have suffered in any way.