Of the 77 million Americans that use opioids up to ninety-one Americans die from an overdose daily. Opioid medications are taken for chronic pain which occurs in at least fifty million Americans. It is ironic that the medical profession and the pharmaceutical companies are in the middle of this opioid epidemic because physicians continue to prescribe Opioids despite the fact that they are highly addictive. Further, selling and manufacturing Opioids is, at yet still legal, but only can be dispensed with prescriptions. It is a well-known business practice for drug company employees to personally visit their physician clients to introduce the company’s specific drugs. Opana ER was wrongfully marketed for a more extensive treatment of ailments, which included back pain. Back pain requires a more prolonged use of Opana ER, increasing the risk of addiction.
While Canada is facing its opioid crisis, not all countries have followed the same route as the United States and Canada. For instance, the Germans use opioids at the same rate as the Americans but do not face a crisis because there is an emphasis on the proper ways that a physician should prescribe opioids. Further, in Japan, it is not as easy to obtain a prescription of opioids than it is from the physician in the United States. Thus, the emphasis in Germany and Japan is to use opioids to support palliative care to improve the patient’s quality of life.
The United States has looked at the practices of drug companies in marketing opioids to the public and physicians. Andy Beshear, the attorney general of Kentucky, took legal action against Endo Pharmaceuticals and Endo Health Solutions for the deceptive marketing and manufacturing of Opana ER a robust painkiller. These pharmaceuticals minimized the risk of taking Opana ER.
Two hundred Kentuckians, without knowledge of the risks of Opana ER, perished in 2016, while the pharmaceuticals’ misrepresented that its competitors’ drugs were at a higher risk than that of Opana ER.
What was most troubling, was that Endo misinformed physicians that risk screening tools would identify people that would be predisposed to find Opana ER addictive. Endo Pharmaceuticals has withdrawn Opana ER from the market in July 2017.