Addiction to heroin and other opiates is a growing problem in the USA, as Presidential hopefuls have learned from Q&A sessions with voters on the campaign trail (previous SN story here).
Tired of encountering dead bodies, the police department of Gloucester, MA (an old city with a large commercial fishing industry) decided to appeal for the public's help in a rather interesting way, via a department Facebook post:
Gotta go make some calls.....
Top 5 Pharmaceutical CEO Salaries:
5. Eli Lilly - John Lechleiter $14.48 million
4. Abbott Labs - Miles D. White $17.7 million
3. Merck - Kenneth C. Frazier
$25 million + cool private jet.
2. Johnson & Johnson - Alex Gorsky $20.38 million
1. Pfizer - Ian Read $23.3 million
They're all on Forbes Top 100 CEO salaries as well.
In 2013 The Huffington Post reported that the 11 largest pharmaceutical companies made $711 BILLION in profits in the last decade while their CEO's made a combined $1.57 BILLION in the same period.
Now...don't get mad. Just politely ask them what they are doing to address the opioid epidemic in the United States and if they realize that the latest data shows almost 80% of addicted persons start with a legally prescribed drug that they make. They can definitely be part of the solution here and I believe they will be....might need a little push.
takyon: A newer Facebook post says that Pfizer is in contact with the Gloucester Police Department.
(Score: 2) by BK on Sunday September 20 2015, @03:56AM
It? Do you mean R&D? Manufacture? Distribution? Maybe all of them?
See, here's the thing: Just because an organization is "non-profit" doesn't make it all socially perfect and inoffensive to all. And non-profits are still profit driven... it just looks different on paper. Non-profits can still have big CEO salaries and private jets and fleets of cars and (hookers and blow for the) weekly company parties (err... "training").
I 'think' you are suggesting making a lucrative market into a lucrative monopoly market (with a feel-good mission statement) and expecting that this will make things better. I think you'll find that, if this is the case, you should expect the opposite result.
Honestly, I'm not sure what you're really trying to solve here, so I can't offer more.
...but you HAVE heard of me.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2015, @05:08AM
Blah, blah, blah. Non-profits are imperfect. Gold star for you!
> Honestly, I'm not sure what you're really trying to solve here, so I can't offer more.
The problem I am trying to solve is that Big Pharma markets this stuff - they have all the incentives to create and maintain demand rather than reduce it.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by BK on Sunday September 20 2015, @06:03AM
There is demand because people are in incredible pain and want it to stop. The product sells itself. Profit incentives aren't the main issue here.
The options are:
1) Allow doctors legal options to deal with incredible pain.
2) Prohibition: Force doctors or patients to seek alternatives which may not be legal.
So it would be better if [feel good, corrupt, monopoly] Pharma did it?
Or Little Pharma?
Or Canadian Pharma?
Or Billy May?
Or Jose's Cartel?
Or Josh on the corner?
If you don't let someone make and market the stuff legally, you'll just make a bigger mess when folks find an alternative.
...but you HAVE heard of me.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2015, @06:12AM
There must be a way to engineer drugs that have the same or better pain killing properties but not the addictive? Maybe some of the profits could be used to do just that, instead of paying the CEO tens of millions of dollars per year.
(Score: 2) by bradley13 on Sunday September 20 2015, @12:42PM
Doesn't work that way. My understanding is that the bigger problem is the psychological addition, not the physical. Which is to say: Someone likes being zoned out, and they will damn will find some drug that zones them out. Opiates happen to be an easy and (comparatively) safe way to achieve this.
If someone wants to get high, and does so in a way that doesn't affect other people, why is this anyone else's problem? If it becomes a problem, because they lose their job or whatever, then counseling and treatment is still better than driving the problem underground by making it illegal.
Really, it comes back down to that old definition by Mencken: "Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2015, @01:57PM
Is prescribing opiates and/or opiate derivatives illegal or something...? Morphine and its ilk are certainly available fairly easily over here, although it's prescription is exceedingly closely monitored - mostly to make sure it's having the desired effect and that the recipient doesn't get hooked. Codeine, in the form of co-codamol, is available over the counter and those really lucky people suffering things like gunshot wounds, surgical recovery or terminal cancer will get diamorphine hydrochloride, aka medical-grade heroin. A friend of mine was absolutely flabbergasted to see his wife given pethidine during childbirth and stupefied to discover they also gave out heroin for extreme pain in childbirth; as with all of this stuff, it's given under close supervision.
Opiates are (relatively) cheap and effective and as long as the dose is sensibly managed there's little to no risk of habit forming or addiction; what's the problem?
(Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2015, @05:58PM
Basically. To prescribe Scheduled drugs (all painkillers), you have to get permission from the Drug Enforcement Agency, and they decide how much you are allowed to give, and if you are even allowed to prescribe it in the first place. If you think your patient is in pain and needs painkillers, or more than the DEA says they should get, you get a one-way trip to prison and lose your medical license.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2015, @06:55PM
That's fucking insane.
(Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2015, @02:38PM
God, for someone so fucking smug, you are so fucking stupid.
I will repeat the key part of my post that you completely ignored so that you could go on your pseudo libertarian red herring rant.
> they have all the incentives to create and maintain demand rather than reduce it.
Address that point and then you can feel all superior. Until then, go do your masturbating in the corner. You doing it out here is just obnoxious.
(Score: 2) by BK on Sunday September 20 2015, @05:01PM
Yep. The incentives are there and they follow them all the time. Just the other day I saw an internet advert that promoted lifting with you back, not your legs, because there's opiates for that. And another on TV recommending unnecessary invasive surgery because opiates. And on the radio last night I heard an offer to "become deaf in style" to escape the honey-do list.
There are drugs that "Big Pharma" has to create markets for. These are not them.
...but you HAVE heard of me.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20 2015, @07:23PM
It isn't about advertisements on tv. Its about seeding doctors with manipulative studies, junkets and free samples. So that not only do they push the opiates, they are disinterested in and often ignorant of treatments that don't depend on opiates or that use them as secondaries rather than primaries.
Guys like you are why I stopped calling myself a libertarian. You think you know everything, but its just teenage logic where you are ignorant of your ignorance.