What Happens When Pharmaceutical Companies Put Profits First?

What Happens When Pharmaceutical Companies Put Profits First?


What happens when drug companies put profits ahead of patient safety? 

Ask the folks in West Virginia.

Between 2007 and 2012, the big drug makers pumped 780 million opioid pills (hydrocodone and oxycodone) into the state.  In case you’re wondering – that’s enough to give every man, woman and child in West Virginia 433 pain pills each.

They pumped away and encouraged physicians to pump away all while an epidemic of drug addiction and overdose deaths climbed to frightening levels.

Did they not understand the risks?


Documents obtained from a number of drug companies show they were clearly aware of the highly addictive nature of these drugs and the danger they posed to public health.

They pushed them anyway.


Profits.  Plain and simple.  In fact, billions of dollars in profits.

The result?

In West Virginia (as in every other state in the Union) – the results have been catastrophic. 

As the fatalities mounted — hydrocodone and oxycodone overdose deaths increased 67 percent in West Virginia between 2007 and 2012 — the drug shippers’ CEOs collected salaries and bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars.

How do we end this cynical cycle of human destruction?

The problem is complicated and will require better access to drug addiction treatment, improved patient/consumer education and far, far greater restraint on the part of prescribing physicians throughout the country.

Capitalism is a wonderful economic system – one that has brought great prosperity to America.  Sadly, it’s also a system that enables the abuses that have led to this deadly healthcare crisis.

If you or a loved one is in need of help with an addiction, consider contacting us.  We are currently treating clients in Connecticut and New Hampshire and are ready to help you.  To learn more, visit www.awarerecoverycare.com today.

Photo credit: dbnunley via Foter.com / CC BY