In an opinion piece for Philly.com, Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella, calls on the pharmaceutical industry to be held accountable for its role in the opioid crisis currently sweeping Pennsylvania.
Big pharma profits while people die
In his piece, Torsella explained that thirteen people die every day in cities across the commonwealth as a result of an opioid related drug overdose. Philadelphia is among the hardest-hit locations, losing more than 900 lives in 2016 to unintentional deaths caused by either illicit or prescribed opioids. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry turns huge profits. One such company, a prescription drug wholesaler based in San Francisco, made $199 Billion in revenue over ten years.
Over the last two decades, the pharmaceutical industry has made their money on the backs of grieving mothers, husbands, brothers, friends, and loved ones – whitewashing the danger of highly addictive narcotic substances through marketing and encouraging doctors to prescribe the powerful drugs at dangerous levels. Opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin used to be prescribed exclusively for pain management associated with surgery or cancer. In 1980, a study was published that led many doctors to believe that opioids were safe to prescribe for chronic pain management, leading to the crisis our state (and country) is in today. The findings of that study were, of course, disproved, but the rate at which these drugs are prescribed has not changed.
Opioid addiction destroys communities
The treasurer also reminded readers that our communities are affected by the devestating crisis, too. When prescriptions run out, addicts are often drawn to a cheaper version accessible on street corners and in dark alleys across Pennsylvania: heroin. All across the Commonwealth, heroin is classified as the highest drug-threat to its residents. And as long as demand remains high, the drug remains here. Philadelphia has the highest purity and the lowest cost compared with other major US cities. And with the rise of synthetic opioids (fentanyl, carfentanil), lethal doses of heroin are claiming the lives of our friends and neighbors.
Addiciton has plagued Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods of countless cities across the country. It is time for Big Pharma to put people before profits and start to repair the damage they’ve caused. While they can’t bring back the lives already lost, they certainly can work to save the lives in danger.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers
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