The Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into the marketing of prescription opioid medications by pharmaceutical companies. Attorney General Joe Foster said a preliminary review of marketing practices shows evidence that some pharmaceutical companies were not 100% truthful when it came to the effectiveness of the opioid medications on chronic pain and also downplayed the risks of addiction to prescription painkillers. "There's certainly people who suffer and need treatment, but we do think that there's a question as to whether patients and physicians are being properly informed about the risks involved," Foster said.
The investigation is taking place during a time of great hardship in New Hampshire. The state has been struggling with the effects of opiate addiction and abuse on its citizens. The state has been working on legislature and protocols for doctors who prescribe opioid medications and these changes are expected to make a positive impact on the lives that would have otherwise been ruined by abuse to opioid medications.
The Chief Medical Officer of Catholic Medical Center, Dr. William Goodwin believes that all patients should be comfortable with questioning their doctors. If you are uncomfortable with a medication that is being prescribed to you, talk with the prescribing physician. If your physician is not willing to talk, explain yourself and put your mind at ease by searching for a second opinion from another medical doctor.
"Because we have come to learn that we probably have been using too many opiates in the medical profession and we're learning how to treat pain with alternatives," Goodwin said. According to Foster, his office has already served subpoenas to some companies to gather more information and the investigation can be a long one, expected to take many months. "We are going to conduct a full and fair investigation, see what's happening here, see where the evidence brings us and then we'll decide next steps," Foster said.
If it is found that the marketing strategies of some of these pharmaceutical companies was misleading and unethical, expect large class action lawsuits and a lot of money to paid out. This will also change the way opioid medications will be prescribed in the future. It is becoming more common place for physicians to use opioid medications as a last resort due to the overwhelming number of people affected by abuse and dependence on opioid medications.
We have lived through a rough time in American history where prescription medications have become the new gateway drugs. Since the 1980’s and the launching of “The War On Drugs,” we have been taught that marijuana was the gateway drug. It was the drug that led people to trying stronger and more dangerous drugs. This has since been shown to not be true in most cases. One of the most dangerous drugs abused in the United States is heroin. Heroin causes a large number of deaths due to overdose and in most cases, heroin addicts began using prescription painkillers. Many of the overdose victims began their use of opiates with a legit prescription by a medical doctor.