Schedule II Opioids to See 10 Percent Decrease in Production in 2019

By  //  March 7, 2019

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In a partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), schedule II opioids will see a 10% average decrease in manufacturing.

In a partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), schedule II opioids will see a 10% average decrease in manufacturing.

Pharmaceutical companies will face new quotas depending on their manufacturing history and track records. These track records may complicate manufacturing for companies like Purdue Pharma. The company is currently facing numerous lawsuits in six states for their role in opioid-related deaths.

Opioids that are being targeted by this manufacturing quota are those with the worst reputations for abuse and death. This list includes oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. DOJ and DEA officials are seeking to put an end to the more than 115 people who die every day from an opioid overdose in the U.S.

The proposed manufacturing quotas were developed after extensive research on how prescription medications should serve the country in the areas of drug research, science, industrial, and medical needs. Schedule I and schedule II drugs are included in the anticipated aggregate production of prescription drugs, and you can get the full list from the DOJ. 

How Did America Become an Opioid Friendly Place?

Prescription medications became increasingly popular in the 1990s. As more people came forward with intolerable pain, doctors began writing more prescriptions. This situation opened the door for pharmaceutical companies to market more opioid-based prescription medications which turned into a multi-million dollar industry. The opioid industry today is worth an estimated $22-billion.

Pharmaceutical companies began intense marketing campaigns to convince doctors and the general public about the safety of opioid consumption. For example, Purdue Pharma spent over $200 million in marketing (just in 2001) of their signature drug oxycontin. These ads were allowed, in part, by more lenient advertising regulations outlined by the Food and Drug Administration. These advertisements were later defined as misleading and harmful to the public of which Purdue Pharma saw over $600-million in fines over.

Opioids made it easier for doctors to treat people who were challenging to deal with and whom they had trouble diagnosing. This factor, along with mounting pressure from pharma companies and government agencies, created the perfect environment for an opioid crisis to occur.

Drug-Land Lawsuits

After more than two decades of negligent advertising and drug prescribing we are now seeing the aftermath play out in courtrooms across the country. Companies such as Envo, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva Pharmaceutical are seeing an influx of lawsuits including class action type cases. Some drug lawyers even suggest that this is the next tobacco industry legal landslide.

While big Pharma tries to take a cue from how tobacco fought class action cases, lawyers are attacking how pharmaceutical companies used false advertising in their attempt to lure customers. In many cases, pharmaceutical companies would sponsor online articles and publications to sway media sites and writers, giving them unfounded information.

For example, Endo Pharmaceutical owned a website called painknowledge.com (now shut down) that targeted unsuspecting persons and claimed that “[p]eople who take opioids as prescribed usually do not become addicted.”

Not only have the opioid companies been found to mislead the public, but now discovered in these legal cases, they also apparently mislead doctors. The Los Angeles Times did an extensive investigation of Purdue Pharma’s Oxycontin and how they omitted negative feedback from physicians about the drug to other doctors and practices.

Others Joining the Fight Against Opioids

Other agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also been working to curtail the opioid abuse statistics.

In 2016 they began encouraging practitioners to do less prescribing and more diagnosing. Point of purchase providers, like Walgreens, is marketing support for customers concerning opioid dangers and addiction. Walgreens, and others like CVS and Walmart Pharmacies, have also been named in a number of opioid-related lawsuits recently.

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