Big Pharma’s Behind-the-Scenes Fight Against Cannabis
November 4th, 2014
Policy, Top Story
Oxycodone and hydrocodone misuse caused 16,652 deaths in 2010 alone, with about 11 million people consuming at least one dose of the opioid in a non-medical way, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of course, the same drug has been beneficially used by millions to treat severe acute or chronic pain associated with everything from surgery recovery to palliative care.
According to Drug War Facts, cannabis overdose hasn’t been associated with a single death in the United States, adding that no recorded cases have been found in extensive literature reviews. Cannabis has been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain, however, in a growing number of scientific studies, which means it’s addressing the same market as many opioid painkillers.
The manufacturers of oxycodone and related painkillers, including Purdue Pharma LP and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), are prominent members of the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of American (“CADCA”) to fight painkiller abuse. Interestingly, the CADCA has taken a software approach toward prescription drug abuse – targeting educational campaigns and failing to seek changes in guidelines.
At the same time, the CADCA has become one of the largest contributors to Drug-Free Kids and other anti-marijuana organizations. These organizations take a hardline approach to marijuana, opposing even limited legalization and supporting increased police powers, and their relationships rarely acknowledged in public debates given the pharmaceutical industry’s involvement in politics.
According to a report in The Nation, confidential financial disclosures from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids showed that the group’s largest donors included Perdue Pharma (the maker of OxyContin) and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) (the maker of Vicodin), as well as other companies like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson (maker of Nucynta) and Alkermes (maker of Zohydrol).
The CADCA’s approach to marijuana legalization contrasts sharply with their approach to prescription drug abuse, according to the report, with a recent letter to Eric Holder calling marijuana among society’s most dangerous drugs with no recognized medical use. These sentiments come despite the fact that numerous studies have been published showing at least potential benefits.
In the end, the cannabis industry’s move towards legalization could be seen as even more impressive given the large amount of money pushing anti-legalization campaigns and society’s already-skeptical view on the drug. The CADCA and other groups could face an even greater uphill battle to protect their prescription drug revenues as more and more studies show the benefits of medical cannabis.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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