As the United States was in the grips of a raging opioid crisis, America’s biggest drug manufacturers pumped 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills into communities all over the country.
“Just six companies distributed 75 percent of the pills during this period: McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS and Walmart." (*source The Washington Post)
The DEA Knew
In a recently published series, it was revealed that the Drug enforcement Agency (DEA) maintained a secret database to track the path of each individual dose delivered. Despite this fact, production was ramping up, and the sky was the limit.
As production of these opioids increased between 2006 and 2012, the volume of pills delivered reached up to 12.6 billion per year. Meanwhile, production of other opioids like morphine stayed flat, averaging roughly 500 million pills delivered per year over the same period.
The States Hit Hardest
The top 5 states that received the highest amount of pills person:
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
During this same period, West Virginia also led the nation with highest opioid death rate.
The DEA database shows clearly that the drug companies knew they were allowing billions of pills to flood the streets. It’s impossible to think that at these volumes, they didn’t know that many of the drugs were flooding onto the black market.
Doctors were prescribing more and more pills for pain as part of the accepted standard of care, and more and more people were becoming addicted. When their prescription came to an end, those suffering from addiction turned to the illicit sources for their supply – and the drugs were abundant.
The Drug Companies Knew
The drug companies had to know that the rising tide of deaths nationwide due to opioid overdose was tied directly to the rapidly increasing production and availability of these powerful narcotics. Yet, despite these facts, these companies kept raking in the profits...
Even worse, many of the people who could no longer afford or find pills, would eventually turn to another opioid – heroin. At the same time, an increase in availability of the extremely powerful drug fentanyl and its ugly cousin, the deadly carfentanil, which is 100 times stronger.
For years now, government entities like the Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration have been targeting these drug manufacturers with lawsuits for making and distributing billions of pills while making billions in profit.
Amazingly, while fining these companies a billion dollars for the offenses, the federal government was also fighting to keep their drug distribution database from being released to the public. This had the outrageous effect of keeping people in the dark about the full scope and scale of the problem.
America Finally Learns Who The Culprits Are
The dam finally broke when, after a year-long legal fight by The Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette-Mail (West Virginia), they were able to gain access to the data. While this was seen as a loss by the federal government, local governments saw the release as a major win in their fight to show that Big Pharma was aware of what it was doing.
AMI Wants to Change Healthcare
Clearly, the relationship between the federal government and the drug companies led to thousands of deaths in a broken, failing healthcare system. That is why Advanced Medical Integration is dedicated to changing healthcare in America. The current model involves treating symptoms - a medically integrated practice is where patients can be healed in a holistic way, without drugs or dangerous surgery.
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