Big Problems for Big Pharma
The big pharmaceuticals are to a significant degree responsible for the opioid crisis. This is because they benefit from the sales of prescription opioid. The marketing of the addictive drugs done by these companies and the physicians who act as their partners contribute to making the opioids available to the persons who abuse them (King, 2018). If the companies were concerned about the opioid crisis, they would come up with measures that would make it harder to access the drugs that are addictive. These measures should be coupled with making the drugs harder to ingest or inject into the body by the laymen. Changing the formulations and researching on having alternatives that are not as addictive would exonerate the pharmaceutical companies from being the primary culprits of the crisis.
The pharmaceuticals’ primary concern is to make profits for their investors. Taking an active role in the fight against the opioid crisis could affect the bottom line of these companies despite. Going against the products that the companies manufacture would impact negatively on their commercial interests. The pharmaceutical companies spend vast resources when researching on drugs. The drive to recover the money used in research and make profits on top might discourage the companies from getting involved in the fight against prescription opioids (King, 2018). The physicians also need to become less liberal when giving prescriptions for drugs that are addictive. They should vet the patients thoroughly and establish whether they can provide alternative medications that are less addictive. The behavior of the patients should also be assessed. For example, if the patient has a history of drug abuse, then there is a higher chance of them misusing the prescribed opioids.
Even though opioids are posing a threat to the health of the persons that abuse them, they are necessary medical interventions that should not be denied those that are in need. Some health conditions entail so much pain that the use of opioids is essential for the patient to live a comfortable and productive life. Former soldiers who have received injuries in battle are among the persons in need of opioids to survive well. For such individual, the access to opioids should not be restricted. However, regulations need to be set up to prevent the misuse of opioids by persons that do not need them (Purcell, 2018). The distribution channels for pharmaceuticals and physicians are the ones that get exploited by peddlers and abusers of opioids. Securing the distribution points and encouraging the physicians to be diligent when giving prescriptions would improve the situation significantly (Purcell, 2018). Creation of awareness in the general population and coming up with severe disciplinary measures for the physicians and distributors that facilitate the abuse of the opioids should work to address the opioid crisis.
The big pharmaceuticals play a significant role in making the opioids available in the market. They are the manufacturers and to a certain degree determine who gets to distribute these drugs. This makes them take the most significant share of the blame for the opioid crisis in the United States. However, these companies are in the industry for commercial reasons. Expecting the companies to play a greater role in addressing the opioid problem would go against their interests in making profits. The big pharmaceuticals find themselves in a dilemma as a result. The opioids are necessary for the survival and productivity of patients with chronic pain and should not be restricted for them.
King, S. (2018). The Opioid Epidemic: Who Is to Blame?. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/substance-use-disorder/opioid-epidemic-who-blame
Purcell, M. J. (2018). Settling high: A common law public nuisance response to the opioid epidemic. Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, 52(1), 135-177.