Deadly Opioid Crisis Is The US Government’s Fault, Not Big Pharma’s

Journalist:
March 4, 2019

Suing Purdue Pharma for the opioid abuse epidemic is like suing McDonald’s for your obesity or diabetes.

Reuters had the exclusive story about the opioid crisis Monday:

“OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is exploring filing for bankruptcy to address potentially significant liabilities from roughly 2,000 lawsuits alleging the drug manufacturer contributed to the deadly opioid crisis sweeping the United States, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.”

The complainants in the suits allege Purdue Pharma employed “deceptive practices to push addictive drugs that led to fatal overdoses.” They further accuse Purdue “of misleading doctors and patients about risks associated with prolonged use of its prescription opioids.”

Purdue Pharma Doesn’t Deserve to Go Bankrupt

The death toll of the opioid abuse epidemic in America today is staggering.

But it is not as staggering as the death toll from motor vehicle collisions on public roads.

And no one is suing gasoline companies for the decades of nonstop carnage on the roadways they’ve been fueling, which has roughly amounted to one 9/11 of lost souls every month for decades.

Still, something should be done to end both opioid abuse deaths and traffic fatalities. But the solution is not to destroy businesses through litigation. Purdue doesn’t deserve to go bankrupt under the weight of 2,000 law suits.

They’re a business. They’re not going to not sell it to you if you have the money and place an order. This is how a business is supposed to operate. The FDA has approved Purdue’s warning labels.

This is like suing McDonald’s for your obesity or diabetes, which people have done.

Dr. Phil on “The Joe Rogan Experience:” Doctors Over Prescribed Opioids Like Oxycontin

In a wide-ranging interview last week, Dr. Phil sat down to talk on Joe Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” and the discussion frequently returned to drug addiction and the opioid abuse epidemic, with Dr. Phil sharing statistics like: “The lost labor in the workforce is in the billions of dollars.”

At the 35:50 mark he says:

I just had this shoulder surgery and I took one opioid, one pill they gave me in the hospital. And after that you can manage it with like Tylenol or something… and I’m not saying–if you’ve had surgery, for God’s sake, get ahead of the pain and stay ahead. But as soon as you can get off of it, get off of it.

There’s no sense in being like macho. You don’t need a leather strap between your teeth and go have some surgery. I mean sh*t, if it hurts, take the pill and get past it, but realize the minute you can get away from that you need to get away from it.

But you know they don’t need to give you a 30-day supply. They need to give you three or four days [worth of supply]. And then you got to go see your doctor again and if it’s still a problem discuss it. That’s what I think needs to happen is just be a lot more conservative about what you’re giving.

Drug companies just sold opioids like Oxycontin.

It was the doctors who over-prescribed it to their patients, who approached the physician as a trusted and objective medical expert and health consultant.

How Big Government Caused The Opioid Abuse Crisis

Medicare Part D beneficiaries are 600% more likely than those with other insurance plans to have an opioid abuse disorder | Source: AP Photo / Susan Walsh

The U.S. federal government caused the opioid crisis. There can be no uncertainty about this. Socialized medicine created this catastrophe. Medicare Part D beneficiaries are 600% more likely than those with other insurance plans to have an opioid abuse disorder.

That’s because Medicare and Medicaid confiscate a massive amount of taxpayers’ earnings without their consent to buy other Americans deadly, addictive drugs that many of them didn’t really need and wouldn’t have paid for themselves without the taxpayer subsidy.

The opioid crisis is just one nightmarish unintended consequence of both Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, one of the largest expansions of the welfare state in U.S. history.

Misaligned Incentives

In 2006, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initiated the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), which included questions about the hospital’s pain management:

HCAHPS scores were linked to hospital reimbursement rates. CMS would pay hospitals more if they had higher scores.”

The questions created a financial incentive for hospitals to prescribe more pain medication, with queries like: “How often was your pain well controlled?” and “How often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help with your pain?”

If anyone should be held liable for the opioid epidemic’s many deaths and ruined lives, it’s the U.S. Congress and the federal health bureaus.

Meanwhile, the U.S. federal government is literally jailing people for growing, selling, or even having the cannabis plant in their pocket, which has well-known, widely-attested palliative effects for pain and discomfort, and which it is impossible to die from consuming.

The Democrats’ highly-touted Medicare for All scheme would likely cause more deaths by using tax dollars to expand a government health program that makes its enrollees 600% more likely to become addicted to a deadly drug.

The solution is not to burn down the factory that made the pain pills.

It’s to get government out of health care.

The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Last modified (UTC): October 15, 2019 14:08

Wes Messamore @thehuli

Living in Nashville, Tennessee, United States (since 2001). Bachelor of Business Administration from Belmont University in 2009 (majored in Entrepreneurship). Organized Senator Rand Paul's first and second online fundraisers in 2009. Got the highest-paying non-profit internship in Washington DC in 2010. Roving editor for the Independent Voter Network. Applying economic principles, I accurately predicted the effect of cannabis legalization on drug-related violent crime in 2010. Email me | Follow Me on Twitter (followed by: fmr Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), fmr NM Gov. Gary Johnson, and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY))