A recent report states that large pharmaceutical companies funneled millions of dollars to advocacy groups to promote their use amid the current drug crisis. The report, released by Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, raises questions concerning the role of drug makers in the ongoing opioid epidemic. A representative of several drug companies named in the report stated there were no conditions regarding the use of those funds.
McCaskill’s report examines funding provided by opioid makers of the most popular prescription painkillers by worldwide sales in 2015. Financial information revealed that more than $10 million was spent between 2012 and 2017 to support 14 different advocacy groups and affiliated doctors. The report’s findings are similar to a 2012 investigation launched by a bipartisan pair of senators. However, that effort eventually was abandoned with no results ever been released to the public.
How Responsible Are Opioid Makers in Causing the Current Drug Crisis?
According to an article published last month in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, McCaskill began her investigation last year into the policies of the largest opioid makers and the advocacy for the use of painkillers. Additionally, the investigation focused on the relationships between these drug companies and third-party groups. The first report found that some drug makers failed to implement policies preventing opioid abuse.
The current report concluded that the leading drug manufacturers helped fund advocacy organizations to favorably promote the use of prescription medications. In remarks related to the report, investigators working with Sen. McCaskill stated the following:
“Notably, a majority of these groups also strongly criticized 2016 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommended limits on opioid prescriptions for chronic pain — the first national standards for prescription opioids and a key federal response to the ongoing epidemic.” McCaskill’s investigators concluded…The fact that these same manufacturers provided millions of dollars to the groups described below suggests, at the very least, a direct link between corporate donations and the advancement of opioids-friendly messaging.”
Which Opioid Makers Were Most Responsible?
The Post-Dispatch article also stated that four opioid manufacturers provided nearly $9 million to outside groups between 2012 and 2017. Purdue Pharma provided the most money to outside groups with $4 billion in that time frame. The opioid maker has been the target of several high-profile lawsuits, and as a result, pledged to stop promoting prescription painkillers to doctors. Other drug companies named in the investigation include Janssen, Mylan, and Insys.
According to information published by Pain News Network, the following groups were the largest recipients of funds provided by opioid manufacturers:
- U.S. Pain Foundation
- American Academy of Integrative Pain Management
- American Academy of Pain Medicine
- American Pain Society
- National Pain Foundation
- Washington Legal Foundation
- American Chronic Pain Association
- American Society of Pain Management
- AAPM Foundation
- Center for Practical Bioethics
Investigators stated there a direct link between corporate donations and the promotion of positive messages regarding opioid use. Additionally, investigators state that by aligning medical culture with this industry goal, many of the groups mentioned in the report may have played a significant role in creating the conditions that led to the country’s opioid epidemic.
A Growing Trend
The McCaskill report is one example of government officials taking proactive steps in combating the opioid crisis. In Kentucky, Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed lawsuits against three different opioid makers. Beshear is planning further litigation and stated the following in a Washington Times article:
“I’m committed to suing every single opioid manufacturer or distributor that knew how dangerous how these drugs were but irresponsibly marketed them or profited from them and haven’t taken responsibility to help us repair the devastation they caused…you don’t meet a Kentuckian anymore who hasn’t lost a friend, a family member or a neighbor…it’s our single-biggest threat to economic job growth in Kentucky. We have more kids in foster care and kinship care than ever before, and the driving force behind all this is the opioid addiction crisis.”
Kentucky is just one of the dozens of states, counties, and cities suing opioid makers for the ways they marketed opioids to consumers. These states have also sued drug makers for allegedly failing to report high levels of demand in certain parts of the country where the drug crisis is strong. Additionally, Congress has taken some action to fund anti-opioid efforts. Congress has provided $6 billion over two years as part of a broader budget bill. Additionally, the White House outlined a series of steps and policy changes aimed at helping states combat the problem.
Extraordinary Steps to Combat an Extraordinary Problem
The extraordinary measures taken by government agencies aim to halt the progress of the country’s unprecedented opioid crisis. It is estimated that 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in the United States in 2016. The CDC estimates that 115 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. In addition to holding opioid manufacturers accountable for their actions, treatment professionals have also stepped up and provided new and effective treatment programs that will help those addicted to opioids find recovery.
If you are struggling with an addiction to opioids, time is of the essence. In order to break the cycle of addiction, you must find professional treatment immediately. Pick up the phone right now and call Pinnacle Recovery. With many years of experience in the addiction treatment field, our team of professionals provides treatment services that are proven to work—no matter how severe your addiction.
How Pinnacle Can Help
One of the most effective ways to beat addiction is to start recovery at an addiction treatment center. Pinnacle Treatment Center is a comprehensive program that addresses the root causes of addiction and how to overcome it. Pinnacle provides intensive therapy along with lectures and exercises for life skills and relapse prevention. Patients will be involved in group therapy sessions as well as 12-step groups like NA and AA. Pinnacle will even help manage aftercare planning to ensure their patients remain on the right path after treatment. A well-rounded program like this is the best way to start recovery today and take control of your life. Call us today at 1-866-301-0573.