|By CW FISHER, LIBERAL LEFTWING MEDIA (c) 2004
Sometimes I think we ought to reverse our charge in the war on drugs. In other words, lay off the poppy farmers in Afghanistan and go after the big pharmaceuticals here at home.
We could start with a raid on Purdue Pharma, a drug cartel that annually puts $1.8 billion worth of heroin into American veins.
OxyContin, Rush Limbaugh’s drug of choice, is heroin. Not your cheap, brown snortable street junk – this is good shit, for cheap. Now longer lasting!
Unlike the olden days in the 19th century when you had to wait weeks to receive your opium from the Sears & Roebuck catalog, then had to nip nip nip off the bottle all day to get rid of your toothache or bad mood or the sound of your wife, today’s would-be junkies simply have to walk into an ER and announce they have PAIN.
Pain is the enemy, and medical science is determined to kill it. It makes treatment less pleasant -- all that moaning and groaning and writhing and gnashing -- but once the patient has been shot up, the staff feels immediate relief.
And patients leave with a nice starter kit for their new heroin addiction.
OxyContin is easy to administer. No more messy tin foil packets or dirty spoons over candles. No more needles that you have to lick clean, picking up everybody else’s spit germs. No more hunt for a vein, any vein that hasn’t flattened itself out and hid. No more late stage shooting in the groin or consideration of the eyeball.
OxyContin is a pill. Swallow it and feel the heroin high for a good 12 hours. Sweet Jesus.
Crush it into powder, which is what the addict does, and you can snort it – getting 12 hours worth of rush NOW. Just two doses are enough to get you through your own radio show, feeling better than you’ve ever felt in your life.
There are several differences between America’s heroin habit in the 19th and 21st centuries. Back then it wasn’t as easy to score, and because there was less population density, you had fewer junkies to step over. Still, they had enough information to wake up and make opiates illegal, and if they hadn’t, we never would have had Lenny Bruce. Now we’re on the same road we were on before, only we’re not paying attention to the sights.
For example, yesterday a federal court smacked down the makers of OxyContin, ruling it deliberately misled federal officials to win its patent. This is not surprising, as most drug pushers are lying sacks of crap. But to deliberately mislead the U.S. Patent Office, well, that takes some ganas.
Suggestion: If you’ve ever woken up drenched in sweat, shivering, jonzing bad something real bad – get in line for the inevitable civil suit. You might get a check for 30 or more dollars, maybe a coupon for Vicoden.
But not this suit. This one was brought by a competitor who wants in. Come on, they said. It’s been more than five years, Purdue’s exclusive selling rights have already expired, c’mon c’mon open up. Purdue, however, claimed its patent should allow OxyContin brand heroin to remain exclusive and high priced.
Generics -- these no names are all the same -- they want to walk into somebody else’s hood, undercut prices and grab 80% of the market, and naturally Purdue doesn’t want that. So they lied a little bit.
In a 1993 internal memo, Purdue executives concluded that the claims they were making for OxyContin "weren't anywhere close" to being proved and were "clearly Bob Kaiko's vision."
Dr. Robert F. Kaiko is the inventor of this exciting new way to take heroin. Naturally he was proud of his achievements and maybe he bragged a bit, built up the numbers a smidge. Who knows? He could have been high – the research was quite imaginative.
Dr. Bob was fond of claiming, for example, that 90% of patients high on OxyContin-brand heroin got pain relief from taking very small amounts of medicine, 10 - 40 mgs.
When was the last time you saw the figure 90% in a clinical trial? Ninety percent of the people who claim that something is 90% are liars.
But if Bob was okay with it, so was the company, so that’s what Purdue Pharma told the United States Patent Office.
It’s been a few years since then, many, many billions of dollars later, but thank God the Patent Office finally woke up. Nice detective work, fellas. Were you in for a piece? I’m just curious who reviewed this thing. Because they would have noticed there were no clinical trials, no evidence to support its revolutionary claim of greatly extended pain relief.
Most Americans would assume that such an important class of medicine would undergo scrutiny. It’s surprising that it took ten years for somebody to say HEY! NO EVIDENCE!
Especially now that we’ve got junkies all over the place. Last year 5,000 people went to the ER because of OxyContin, and scores of them died.
Oh, well. The door to the generics is opening. Soon the streets of America will be awash in cheap smack.
Poor Purdue will just have to come up with a creative way to repackage some other age-old scourge (Coke? Pot? Speed? Alcohol?). The possibilities are endless, nobody’s looking, and if it doesn’t get through the FDA, they can always take it overseas. They’ll be okay. It’s not as if anybody’s going to jail or anything!
Me, I just want to see George Bush land in East L.A. and announce the end of the War on Drugs. Heads up, Druglords. Once the generics come in it's bye bye fat profits.
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Bold means recent addition.
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Search CW Fisher on The Huffington Post
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