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General News    H3'ed 5/7/16

Misguided Patients Pharma Loves You

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It never fails. When reporters observe that Paxil causes birth defects, "GERD" meds are linked to bone thinning, suicides are rising in exact proportion to SSRI use or narcotics are addictive they are inundated with patients screaming "how dare you suggest I am not sick?" "You're not taking my drugs!"

In their paranoid attacks and personalizing of the issue, they sound a lot like gun advocates whose response to background check laws for guns is "you're not taking my gun."

Patients who think they are under attack are abetted by thousands of "professional patients" who Pharma jets to Washington and parades in front of state agencies to showcase the "need" for expensive new drugs. They raise health care costs especially in government programs.

This week, despite exposes from the Los Angeles Times and Organic Consumers Association about how Pharma sought wider indications for opioids despite their addiction, hooking millions, pushback is coming from patients who actually believe the problem is "stigma" and too tight laws around opioids. Right. Maybe instead of 46 dying from opioids a day we can get to 100 .

There are more Pharma lobbyists than members of Congress
There are more Pharma lobbyists than members of Congress
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In users' defense of opioids, they sound a lot like two Pharma front groups, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Active Minds which literally "sell" mental illness by yelling "stigma," "barriers to treatment" and "underserved" to get more people on drugs.

While many know NAMI gets the majority of its donations from drug makers according to Congressional investigators, Active Minds, located on at least 100 campuses is also Pharma funded. After the apparent suicides of two Northwestern University students in Evanston, Illinois in 2012, both group d escended upon the campus yelling "barriers to treatment" even though suicide in young adults is a major risk of the SSRIs they push. Pharma has also invaded the addiction industry.

No one doubts that growing up is hard and young people can be unhappy. No one doubts that chronic pain is terrible. But only since aggressive Pharma marketing do unhappy 20-year-olds conclude that they have S SRI deficiencies and people with chronic pain conclude they have opioid deficiencies. How did we ever cope before Pharma got a fourth of the population on antidepressants and loosened opioid guidelines so they are used for almost all types of pain?

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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