Attorney General of Oklahoma accused Pharmac pharmaceutical firm & its subsidiaries of having a big hand in the opioid crisis in the United States, which has resulted in a loss of billions of dollars as well as thousands of lives.
Pharmac has spent millions of dollars to fund a painkiller at the center of the American opioid crisis. According to the experts, it has generated a whole new population of drug users. This was investigated by National Correspondent Tony Wall.
Oxycodone which is commonly known by its brand name ‘OxyContin’ or as ‘Hillbilly Heroin’, was produced as an alternative for people who did not tolerate morphine.
Instead, statistics disclosed by Stuff reveal morphine use edged upwards while prescribing of oxycodone set out.
Between 2005, when Pharmac started funding oxycodone, to 2011 till 2012 financial year, the amount of the drug prescribed mounted from 9607 to 185,884 – a climb of over 1800 percent.
The controlled-release version of oxycodone was doubly costly as morphine, which means that by 2010 Pharmac was paying $6m a year for the drug unlike $3m for morphine.
Oxycodone is double powerful than morphine, however, there is no evidence of it being a better manager of pain than morphine. Yet it became the go-to drug for doctors who treated everything from cancer pain to arthritis.
Emma Schwarcz, Chairperson of the NZ National Association of OpioidTreatment Providers stated that the figures are shocking, it is quite a boost, but we do not have more cases of pain. These figures help highlight that it is an issue in our community and oxycodone has not replaced morphine but sits alongside other opioid drugs.
Schwarcz stated that even though the use of the drug has increased in recent years, the ‘runaway’ prescription figures indicate people have become dependent. The drug kicks in really quick and has an intense, as well as, ecstatic effect. Unfortunately, when it goes away, you need more of that, hence it is highly addictive.