- Aug 6, 2011
I think writing politicians & health authorities is a great place to start...
Sadly, it's hard to imagine that individuals or even grass-roots pressure-groups could impact drug policy when even Big Pharma has failed to prevent the new limits on prescribing. Heaven knows, it's not often that Big Pharma is on our side, but from 2006 to 2015 they spent more than $880 million nationwide on lobbying and campaign contributions - more than 200 times what was spent by those advocating for stricter policies.
Even "astroturf" pressure-groups like the Pain Care Forum (which is actually a front for Big Pharma) have failed to make much impact. The question, of course, is why Big Pharma has failed to get the limitations relaxed when the one thing that usually motivates politicians above all else is money.
The answer seems to be that, as jaders pointed out, the hysteria and genuine public concern over the opioid epidemic means that politicians have to be seen to be doing something, and the strategy that most seem to favour is replacing demonised products like Oxycontin with a new family of "abuse-deterrent" products that will "make certain types of abuse, such as crushing in order to snort or dissolving in order to inject, more difficult or less rewarding" while still allowing Big Pharma to rake in the big bucks.
Abuse-deterrent drugs are by no means impossible to abuse and they won't prevent prevent addiction, overdose, or death. Their main appeal seems to be the puritan hope that even if some users continue to abuse the drugs, they'll certainly have a lot less fun doing so.
The article: Politics of Pain: Drugmakers Fought State Opioid Limits Amid Crisis, from which all the facts and quotations in this post are taken, goes into the matter in more depth.