New statistics from the National Institutes of Health show that more than 72,000 people died from drug overdoses during 2017. Of those, a staggering 49,060 people are said to have died as a result of opioid abuse. The opioid pain-reliever is one of Big Pharma’s most profitable cash-cows, and now, American citizens are paying the price — with their lives. Annual death tolls from opioids alone are now exceeding deaths from car accidents (40,100), fatal shootings (15,549), homicides (17,284) and even suicide (almost 45,000).
All told, about 200 people died an opioid-related death everyday in 2017. Earlier estimates also confirmed that the number of people Big Pharma killed with opioids in a single year was higher than the number of causalities the U.S. incurred during the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined.
While all these lives (and the lives of their loved ones) are being torn apart, Big Pharma has been raking in billions. And the same industry that caused this massive epidemic of death now stands to profit by selling new, pharmaceutical “cures” for the problem they created.
Profits over people
As reports from 2015 show, just the sale of opioids alone equates to $9.6 billion for Big Pharma — and now, pharma companies are making a whole stack of drugs to treat the problems associated with their toxic pain relievers. Estimates from The Washington Post reveal that Big Pharma is making $1.4 billion on drugs to “treat” addiction, and another $1.3 billion on drugs to deal with overdoses. It’s estimated further that the industry makes between $1.9 billion and $4.8 billion on drugs to treat side effects of opioids. There is even a laxative on the market aimed at treating “opioid-induced constipation,” a condition that was actually made up by pharma companies.
As sources note, opioids are a highly profitable product: In addition to being addictive, the side effects are mild enough to keep people hooked — but bothersome enough that they’ll seek out other prescriptions. Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, says that this can make patients “worth” several thousands dollars each month to Big Pharma.
“Many patients wind up very sedated from opioids, and it’s not uncommon to give them amphetamines to make them more alert. But now they can’t sleep, so they get Ambien or Lunesta. The amphetamines also make them anxious, paranoid and sweaty, and that means even more drugs,” Kolodny told the Post.
An industry built on scandal
The pharmaceutical industry’s primary concern is emphatically not making sick people healthy. Over the years, the industry has made it abundantly clear that securing ever-increasing profits and creating more patients is the goal — and yet, Big Pharma’s grip on the practice of medicine seems stronger than ever.
As Mike Adams, founder of Natural News and creator of Brighteon.com, contends:
The purpose of the pharmaceutical industry’s entire existence is to extract the maximum amount of money from the U.S. economy by pretending to make sick people healthier through the widespread consumption of high-profit pharmaceutical medications. However, the profit model of the industry is almost entirely based on convincing healthy people they need lifelong medications to be healthy.
Adams explains further that much of the industry’s tactics rely on the marketing of diseases, in order to convince an unsuspecting public they need medications to be “healthy.” In the instance of opioid pain relievers, these drugs have been marketed for off-label purposes, such as long-term or chronic pain.
Multiple city- and state-level governments have taken legal action against the manufacturers of opioids for spreading misleading information, obscuring the risk of addiction, lying about the actual long-term efficacy of their products, and for buying the opinions of respected doctors. To say that the use of opioids in virtually any medical capacity is a sham would be putting it lightly.
And the lengths to which Big Pharma will go to maintain its prowess (and financial status) are getting even more extreme: Recently, a former pharma executive who had joined forces with the federal government to drive down drug prices was found bludgeoned to death — and his untimely demise was ruled a “suicide.”
Written by: Vicki Batts