I was reading The Washington Post the other day — it’s still a good paper for covering the Fed, politics and for getting the scoop on the inside the Beltway shenanigans) and there was an amazing story on the front page.
And it wasn’t amazing in a good way. Seems like Big Pharma is fueling a national heroin addiction.
It once again underscores the fact that the fundamental American principles of our republic have all but vanished from our markets and our government.
I assume you have heard about the opioid-addiction problem in the U.S.
Let me catch you up on the latest. Now that doctors are handing out generic and brand name pain killers like candy, people are becoming addicted to them too. Since these opioids are derived from the opium poppy, they are as addictive as morphine and opium.
Morphine is believed to be the first drug extraction from a plant. It became available in 1805 for use, usually injected into the muscle, under the skin or into a vein.
Regardless of the method of ingestion, all these drugs are highly addictive. And the recent reformulation of these drugs by large pharmaceutical companies has been a boon in business for them in recent years.
In 2010 alone, there were 254 million opioid prescriptions filled in the U.S. That equated to almost every American being medicated round the clock for a month. And that was six years ago.
The problem is, when the prescriptions end, the dependence does not. So, these freshly minted addicts turn to something more accessible to get their fix — heroin.
The biggest danger in this is that heroin is not regulated and there are no “dosage” guidelines (I know, that sounds odd to hear about heroin). Some heroin is stronger than others, some is cut with bad fillers, the list goes on. No one is going to report being ripped off by their heroin dealer.
But that inconsistency means an addict may get something stronger than expected and end up overdosing. This has led to a national epidemic of heroin overdoses. And not in the big inner cities. But in predominantly white suburbia and small towns throughout the country.
The Post article shows a direct link between the conflicting interests of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Big Pharma. And how Big Pharma won.
Here’s an excerpt:
A decade ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration launched an aggressive campaign to curb a rising opioid epidemic that was claiming thousands of American lives each year. The DEA began to target wholesale companies that distributed hundreds of millions of highly addictive pills to the corrupt pharmacies and pill mills that illegally sold the drugs for street use…
… But the industry fought back. Former DEA and Justice Department officials hired by drug companies began pressing for a softer approach. In early 2012, the deputy attorney general summoned the DEA’s diversion chief to an unusual meeting over a case against two major drug companies.
“That meeting was to chastise me for going after industry, and that’s all that meeting was about,” recalled Joseph T. Rannazzisi, who ran the diversion office for a decade before he was removed from his position and retired in 2015.
Is it such a shock to hear that Big Pharma is complicit in killing Americans for revenue? No, but it’s rarely revealed to the larger population.
As Bob Livingston has said for years now, the banksters have rigged the U.S. financial system for themselves. And now there’s overwhelming evidence that Big Pharma isn’t as concerned with your health as it is with expanding your eligibility to receive their products.
This is our “healthcare” system at work. And guess what one of the top selling drugs, that has seen 500 percent price inflation in recent years, is? A generic drug for heroin overdose victims called Naloxone. Manufactures are selling Naloxone like hotcakes at prices that make the EpiPen inflation look like small change. They’re making money making addicts and making money when they overdose.
I don’t blame you if you find that… well, disgusting. Maybe that’s why pharmaceutical stocks have not performed well this year. It’s likely after more of these investigations something in the system will change, which will also hurt their future pricing — Wall Street does not like uncertainty.
This is one more reason to get out of this market and stick to hard assets or at least exit the financial and pharmaceuticals sectors. This will be an issue the politicians will have to do something about. It will make them look good and there won’t be much change right away, but the base of those who support Big Pharma is beginning to slowly erode.
— GS Early