Big Pharma’s painkillers causing drug abuse epidemics across 80% of U.S. workplaces
by: Jennifer Lea Reynolds
(NaturalNews) According to a survey conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC), a whopping 80 percent of employees in Indiana have felt the effects of prescription drug misuse and abuse. However, it’s not just an Indiana issue, but one that is widespread across the United States. In fact, the president and CEO of the NSC, Deborah Hersman, says, “This is not a local problem; this is a national problem, and it’s very important for employers to understand this is an issue they need to pay attention to and not put their head in the sand.”(1)
Opioids – the prescribed painkillers which millions of Americans are addicted to – are becoming increasingly problematic. Death rates from their addictions have tripled since 2010, and of the $60 billion associated with economic opioid abuse costs, half of that figure is attributed to workplace losses, including diminished productivity.(1)
It also costs health insurers upwards of $72.5 billion annually in direct healthcare costs. Additionally, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says that prescription drug abuse is also linked to bad employee decisions such as embezzlement, and can lead to impairment and on-the-job injury as well.(1)
The problem is so bad, that many hold the belief that prescribed painkillers are even more addictive than illegal drugs, and on par with alcohol abuse.
Taking doctors on tequila dates: one company’s sick way of putting profits over people
Obviously, you’d think that the pharmaceutical industry – which is supposedly dedicated to keeping human heath intact and abiding by a strict code of ethics – would work together to help remedy this problem. Well, they are working together, but in a manner that ultimately only benefits themselves.
According to a CNBC video, Big Pharma often eyes profits over people. As a result, people are being prescribed medications they don’t even need, often the result of pharmaceutical employees who engage in “tequila dates” with doctors, where the goal is to convince them to get on board with the process.(2)
Insys Therapeutics is one such company that the CNBC video focuses on, and the findings are heartrendingly disgusting. The publicly-traded company unnecessarily provided several patients with a drug which the FDA noted should only be used for cancer patients experiencing “persistent cancer pain.” Still, people were prescribed this drug in droves, which is sprayed under the tongue to provide pain relief. David Hart, Oregon assistant attorney general sums it up best by saying that Insys’ “goal was profits regardless of the effects on patients.”(2)
Who cares about health and deception when a company’s stock surges 600 percent?
Others in the CNBC video use words such as “lies” and “deception” to explain Insys’ actions, including a former Insys sales rep who resigned over the “insatiable greed” she witnessed. She explains the sense of urgency the company had to push for as many prescriptions of this cancer drug as possible.(2)
It’s no wonder then, that Insys’ stock surged a remarkable 600 percent since it’s IPO. However, the company is – fortunately – facing investigations from six states over its deceptive behaviors and health-harming actions.(2)
Still, we all know that this is just one company. Surely, others are doing the same, leading our nation’s health down the wrong path all in the name of greed. And it’s harming society tremendously.
So, what’s the answer to preventing Big Pharma’s twisted ways from flooding the workplace?
From employees to babies, opioid addition an ‘epidemic’
“This is a complex problem that calls for action by all who have a role in preventing opioid abuse and responding to this problem, whether it is doctors, the health department, law enforcement or families,” says Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander. At the same time, an aide of his put the onus on employers saying, “It is up to employers — not the federal government — to determine the best practices for managing their employees.”(1)
The effects of this problem don’t only impact the workplace, but also innocent babies who are born addicted to opioids. There have been stories of mothers shooting heroin while giving birth, or accidentally suffocating their babies while high. Sadly, over 130,000 babies in the United States have been born with drug addictions.(3)
Pediatrician Dr. Lauren Jansson sums up the problem by saying it’s a “crisis” and an “epidemic.” “The opioid crisis in this country is continuing to expand exponentially.”(3)
Sources for this article include:
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