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posted by martyb on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the profits-at-all-costs dept.

Infamous OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma used front organizations and sponsored research to deceive the World Health Organization and corrupt global public health policies with the goal of boosting international opioid sales and profits, according to a Congressional report (PDF) released Thursday, May 22.

The investigation identified two WHO guidance documents that appear to parrot some of Purdue's misleading and outright false marketing claims about the safety and efficacy of their highly addictive opioids.

The findings, released by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), land as the country is still grappling with an epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid overdoses kill an average of 130 Americans every day.

Clark and Rogers say that the motivation for the investigation follows a 2017 warning letter Congress members sent to the WHO. Given the opioid epidemic unfolding in the US, the lawmakers warned the WHO that opioid makers would try to expand into international markets, which could potentially trigger a global epidemic. But the Congress members say they didn't get a response (though the WHO disputes this).

"When the WHO failed to respond to the letter, we began to question why they would remain silent about such a significant and devastating public health epidemic," the report reads. "The answers we found are deeply disturbing."

Based on public records, the report outlines a tangle of organizations and individuals that connect financial threads from Purdue to WHO.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/05/world-health-organization-parroted-purdues-deceptive-opioid-claims-report-says/


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @10:20AM (15 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @10:20AM (#847550)

    I share your outlook on the medical profession, and most of the time I don't even seek medical advice if I think I know what the advice will be. I have friends that keep a stash of morphine-level painkillers (tramadol) in their cupboard because when they need them, they're in too much pain to even go see a doctor. They will purposefully refill their last prescription when they no longer need it, just to refill their emergency stash. This is also illegal, but I think you and I both agree that what they're doing is prudent.

    But I don't share your outlook on addiction. Yes, part of the opioid crisis is people taking pills way beyond their immediate need (it's a very easy step to go from an emergency stash to persistent usage). And yes, part of it is people self-medicating without seeing a doctor. But as long as the addiction started from a doctor's prescription, blaming the victim is not going to help one bit. To fight an addiction, people need understanding and support, not judgemental finger-pointing.

    Do you religiously follow the doctor's orders? Or, do you take the doctor's orders into account, then decide for yourself if you are going to consume those drugs?

    As do I. But fundamentally, what makes our attitude different from all those anti-vaxxers out there?

    I don't want to feel "too good" because that may be a sign of addiction.

    Not wanting to feel "too good" is also a sign of depression. They have pills for that, you know.

    I've hurt, all of my life

    Sorry to hear that. But I do want to point out that if hurting is your default path through life, you may not very well equipped to judge the people that go through life unhurt and seek out doctor's advice to relieve their newfound pain. Myself, I go through life mostly unhurt but I'm hesitant to take even aspirin.

    Choose wisely - take the red pill, or the blue pill, but don't take a whole fucking handful of pills.

    I think this is a mischaracterization. Most addicts start out taking just one pill. They find that it works, and keep taking that one pill. The harmful long-term side effects of those pills will always take second place to the immediate relief it brings.

    maybe you should have done more to protect yourself?

    Most anti-vaxxers (the followers, not the leaders) genuinely believe they are going the extra mile to protect themselves (and their children).

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:33PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:33PM (#847564)

    Your problem is that you think the anti-vaxxers are the unreasonable ones. Those are the people demonstrating a rational skepticism of the medical profession which has a history of giving out bad advice while taking no accountability. This opiod thing is nothing compared to the skin cancer and obesity crises they caused. Once we see some accountability there I will begin to think a trustworthy process is in place.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @03:15PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @03:15PM (#847615)

      Okay.... the elites in the "medical profession" caused the obesity epidemic? Nothing to do with food industry stuffing everything with corn syrup to increase profit.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @03:53PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @03:53PM (#847628)

        Yes, they recommended the food pyramid and a "low fat" diet (code for "high carb"). Anyone can prove to themselves in a few days that eating a low carb diet makes you less hungry. You will even save money while running this experiment. The same number of calories as fat are simply much more satiating than as carbs, so you consume less.

        In contrast, they spent billions of dollars on BS low fat research and public health campaigns that resulted in an obesity crisis.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:22PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:22PM (#847640)

          That food pyramid [wikipedia.org] you speak of did not come from the medical industry, it came from the department of agriculture.

          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:26PM (1 child)

            by Gaaark (41) on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:26PM (#847643) Journal

            And how many doctors told there patients to follow the food guide instead of saying "WTF? That'll make you fat!"

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:28PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @04:28PM (#847645)

            Where do you think the recommendations came from if not doctors or other healthcare "experts"? If they weren't on board why wasn't there an outcry from them?

            Anyway, I suspect I am responding to the same AC that showed up recently who seems to have such little understanding of the world that they must be a bot.

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday May 25 2019, @08:44PM (7 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 25 2019, @08:44PM (#847706) Journal

    But fundamentally, what makes our attitude different from all those anti-vaxxers out there?

    How about reason?

    For example, I can note that measles has gone in incident by three orders of magnitude roughly in countries which adopt near universal vaccination. I can note that measles and its complications are worse and more frequent than corresponding complications of the measles vaccines commonly used.

    Similarly, I can consider the risks and benefits of using opioids without requiring an expert and their potential conflicts of interest to tell me what to think.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @03:12AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @03:12AM (#847791)

      For example, I can note that measles has gone in incident by three orders of magnitude roughly in countries which adopt near universal vaccination. I can note that measles and its complications are worse and more frequent than corresponding complications of the measles vaccines commonly used.

      The first is just as easily explained by differences in diagnostic criteria, and the second is just false. Fake facts.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 26 2019, @04:12AM (5 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 26 2019, @04:12AM (#847806) Journal

        The first is just as easily explained by differences in diagnostic criteria, and the second is just false.

        On the first remark, everything can be easily explained by any arbitrary criteria you want to throw out there. OTOH, if you're going to use reason and evidence, it's not so easy to explain things via that method. Sorry, it doesn't account for three orders of magnitude that happens every time some country adopts mass vaccination for measles.

        As to the second statement, sorry, you're wrong here as well. The last time this conflation of side effects of vaccination with the symptoms of measles was defended, a certain AC was equating [soylentnews.org] any appearance of a rash (the side effects of vaccination) with the seven to ten days of full body rash of measles; occasional fever with measles's consistent, high fever; and of course, ignoring that people who get sick from measles are usually out for at least a week (7 to 10 days of misery in the usual scenario, folks!), possibly taking out other people as care givers while it is rare for side effects of vaccination to cause any need for sick days.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @04:24AM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @04:24AM (#847811)

          Sorry, it doesn't account for three orders of magnitude that happens every time some country adopts mass vaccination for measles.

          Yes it does. It is the same mechanism every time. The simultaneous introduction of vaccination + blood tests + doctors are hesitant to diagnose measles in vaccinated patients happens the same way every time. Find a single counter example.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @04:33AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @04:33AM (#847815)

            Same AC. And it would be so easy if they ever just ran a blinded RCT. But they didn't and never will.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday May 26 2019, @07:49PM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 26 2019, @07:49PM (#847961) Journal

            The simultaneous introduction of vaccination + blood tests + doctors are hesitant to diagnose measles in vaccinated patients happens the same way every time.

            Yes with the big factor being vaccination. Changing an infection from exponential growth to exponential decay remains a big deal.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @09:16PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @09:16PM (#847990)

              It is so boring when you respond. You never have any good info of your own, mostly opinions or questionable info everyone has seen already.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday May 27 2019, @12:24AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 27 2019, @12:24AM (#848041) Journal

                It is so boring when you respond. You never have any good info of your own, mostly opinions or questionable info everyone has seen already.

                Why should I go with novel but weak arguments when the whole thing was settled half a century ago and whose truth continues to be reinforced every time another part of the world adopts near universal immunizations? There's no point to changing an argument that still works devastatingly well. I find it remarkable how we can complain that an old argument still works without considering the stilted thinking that goes into those rival arguments. How can you not be concerned that anti-vaxxer arguments continue to be defeated by old reasoning and evidence? What is more boring again, the people who bring arguments to the table that come already broken, or the people who then quickly perform the coup de grace on those arguments with the usual rebuttals?

                Come up with something that isn't pre-broken. Then we'll have something interesting to talk about.