Pharmaceutical Companies Have Customers, Not Patients

Published October 13th, 2016 by USA Rx
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

Pharmaceutical Companies Have Customers, Not PatientsWhen it comes to medications, it’s important to remember that you are not just your doctor’s patient. You are also a drug company’s customer, and this fact can often have an impact on which drugs your physician prescribes, which drugs you ask for, and which drugs are even available to buy.

For instance, between the years 2002-2008, the company Indivior had monopoly on the drug Suboxone, which uses the drug buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction and combines it with naloxone, an opioid antidote meant to prevent people from abusing Suboxone. Both drugs are decades old, but the FDA granted Indivior’s monopoly in exchange for getting the drug through the approval process as an addiction treatment medication.

However, six years wasn’t nearly enough for the company, and so when the monopoly period ran out they started producing a special film that dissolves in your mouth, a film they have a patent on. At the same time, the company started a marketing campaign that claimed the film strips were less risky to have around kids than the old pills. The FDA apparently knew this was untrue, but they still listened to the marketing and prevented generic pills from entering the market until after they passed some additional studies.

When all this came to light, 35 states decided to sue Indivior for illegal monopolistic practices. These suits are only getting started, but it isn’t looking very good for Indivior’s side.

In another example, a book came out recently that takes a long look at the spread of amphetamines and amphetamine derivatives in ADHD treatment. Amphetamines are almost 100 years old at this point, and we’ve known from almost the beginning that these powerful stimulants can be very addicting and very dangerous.

However, around 50 years ago, pharmaceutical companies began marketing them as a way to treat excitable children. This treatment did have some very real, helpful results, but when Ritalin and Adderall took off in the 90s, the companies that produced them started filling the market with glowing studies and ads that promised the drugs would do wonders for every child who has trouble focusing in the classroom.

Amphetamine derivatives really do help kids with ADHD, but probably not to the extent that the drug companies promise. And at the same time, while around 5 percent of all kids probably have the disease, 15 percent of kids are being diagnosed. And for everyone who doesn’t have ADHD, these drugs are nothing more than very addictive stimulants.

And even if you or your child do need one of these drugs, their costs always seem to be going up. Fortunately, there’s something you can do right away to improve your situation: sign up for a free USA Rx pharmacy discount card. Through our discount program, you can save up to 75 percent on prescription medication, including both name brands and generic drugs. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can email us at [email protected] or call our toll-free number at 888-277-3911.

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