As has been covered elsewhere and now the subject of a plethora of suits against the opioid industry, Big Pharma played a significant role in creating the current opioid crisis. Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic and other sources have described the industry’s less-than-accurate marketing done about the dangers of opioids including its significant lowballing of the risk of addiction.
Now a study has been released which indicates that despite the potential for abuse, opioids fared no better when treating pain long-term than less dangerous drugs.
Although this study will likely help to encourage doctors to shift to less risky prescribing practices in the future, it also provides a caution for us moving forward.
This study or one like it could have been done before Big Pharma began promoting massive use of opioids, but it wouldn’t have served any financial interest. This failure in choice of research is another manifestation of the problems that develop when science is driven by stakeholders with economic interests. It should be added to the list of Big Pharma’s Tricks-of-the-Trade.
How does this relate to today?
Big Pharma is now broadly marketing Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as the only viable means for addressing addiction. It should come as no surprise that the core of MAT involves widespread and massive increases in the use of Big Pharma opioids to “treat” opioid addiction.
What studies should we be doing today to predict or ideally prevent future problems?