76 Billion Pills—Drug ’Syndemic’ Created by Multiple Drug Companies

Big pharma creates addicts

While in the midst of an all-encompassing societal scandal, it’s easy to react to what’s going on with intense emotion while trying to point fingers at who we think is really responsible for this whole ordeal. For a while, Purdue Pharma has been the number one target because of their shady sales tactics to get the most OxyContin as possible into the hands of consumers. With that being said, Purdue isn’t the only one wearing a black hat, in fact, multiple companies have worked together to create the massive epidemic we have on our hands today.

Between 2006 and 2012, 76 billion hydrocodone and oxycodone pills were sent to pharmacies nationwide, most of them being generic formulations. Deaths from overdoses began to pile up and Purdue Pharma found themselves at the receiving end of a hefty fine for their false claims that OxyContin was “less addictive than other opioids.

Opioids have accounted for nearly 430,000 deaths in this time period and the nation went into an uproar as more and more families lost their loved ones to addiction. Nearly every U.S. state has filed suit against the pharmaceutical industry, most of them aimed directly at Purdue. The thing is, however, Purdue isn’t the only company to blame. They actually only produced around 3% of the country’s opioids, while SpecGX, Par Pharmaceutical, and Activis Pharma accounted for nearly 90% of the pills since most of what was sold in American pharmacies were lower-cost, generic drugs.

Of course, these companies say they didn’t market the drugs but were just merely meeting the intense demand for them.

Homeless addict

This is pure insanity, to say the least, but I think the point is that while yes, the opioid problem is atrocious, Purdue isn’t the only one responsible. Multiple companies worked together to create the problem we have today. Kind of like the drug syndemic, where multiple epidemics have been working together, making each one stronger and feeding off each other. So, we could say that a “syndemic” exists with multiple drug companies as well—all working together to make an overall drug problem completely out of control. It’s strange how that happened…almost too strange.

But even with all of this new data coming to light, it still doesn’t change the fact that we have a massive drug problem out there. I don’t think it really matters where it came from or who started it. What matters is what are we going to do to deal with the monster the pharmaceutical industry has created? Are we going to just roll over and die or are we going to continue to fight this thing to the bitter end? I’m a fighter. I will never stop this fight. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives so that some of the 1% can make huge profits off their investments. In my opinion, the blood is on their hands and now it’s up to us to fix the havoc they created.

Sources Used:



Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.