It was 2008 doctors, pharmacies and pain management centers with Big Pharma at their backs were complicit in a nationwide conspiracy to get people hooked on powerful narcotics. Normal everyday folk were prescribed super addictive and deadly pain medication like Oxycontin for an injury 20 years ago would have been treated with extra strength aspirin. Shortly thereafter those same normal everyday folk were ending up in jails, institutions or dead as a result of corrupt decisions by everyone we were told we could trust.
Everyone including lawmakers, law enforcers, and people throughout the entire medical community are responsible in some way for the destruction that the opioid crisis brought to our communities. After more than a decade of destroyed families and needless deaths we’re are finally seeing some change and accountability.
Powerful companies, non-profits and the government have begun to accept responsibility and are now working together to make changes. There’s also a new plan of prescription drug policies enacted by the new administration and the private creation of the Investors on Opioid Accountability.
A collaboration of business leaders, politicians and large long established charities like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility have joined the Investors for Opioid Accountability (IOA). Which comprises 30 treasurers, asset managers, faith-based, public and labor funds with over $1.3 trillion in assets. Their goal is to work to reduce the consequences of the opioid crisis.
According to Katie Mclusky the Director of Social Responsibility for United Church ““Faith-based investors have a real problem with the opioid epidemic. Our clients are clergy members, churches and mission-oriented organizations that are challenged to minister to families being ruined by opioids. United Church Funds believes pharmaceutical companies need to take accountability for their role in the creation and continuation of the epidemic.”
The opioid crisis’s devastating effect on our country includes a heavy toll on our healthcare system,” said John Starcher, President and CEO of Mercy Health. “Health Companies must balance giving these medicines to those who really need them with follow up to prevent inappropriate use. In addition to the record number of deaths, in 2014 alone, nonfatal unintentional overdoses accounted for 420,000 emergency department visits and 260,000 hospitalizations, putting a strain on healthcare facilities nationwide. This public health crisis demands a meaningful response from all organizations with any capacity to influence change.”
They hope to use their money, power and influence to reverse the course of destruction the opioid crisis has left. We’ll see what impact they can have on Big Pharma, but it seems that this crisis has affected the bottom lines of at least the big insurers enough to want to do something about it.
Having declared the Opioid crisis a national emergency the creation of the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction ensued. Following it’s creation over 500 million dollars became available to the states, and another purported 10 billion to be allocated over the next 3 years. Some of the money will go to the Department of Health and Human services to fight addiction and some of the money will go to increase the availability of life saving overdose medications like Naloxone. Other money will be allocated for the following.
- Expand grants to states for prevention, addiction treatment and alternative recovery services.
- Expand Medicaid coverage of comprehensive-based medication-assisted treatment.
- Prevent prescription drug abuse in Medicare Part D by requiring plan participation in a program to prevent prescription drug abuse.
- $381 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to reduce reliance on opioids for pain management, and to treat addiction.
- $253 million for Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center to fight drug trafficking.
- Request $500 million to support a partnership with Big Pharma to develop prevention and treatments for addiction, overdose reversal, and non-addictive pain therapies.
- 12 million to the DOJ for monitoring programs.
- A total of 10 billion through 2019 to combat the opioid crisis.
With these new initiatives we hope to see some real change. Government bureaucracy has been the looming problem when creating standards that hold big corporations accountable especially when they create health crisis’s.