Coincidentally, just as I posted last night’s post about my excitement for capitalism’s new interest in addiction medication, a very interesting post appeared on Bluelight (a very interesting site about drug use and abuse) about the same general idea– but with a different perspective. I am going to try to get the person who posted there to do a ‘guest post’ for us here, so that we can have a ‘point/counterpoint’ discussion about the topic. I may be wrong, but I think the post I’m referring to takes issue with the money made by ‘big pharma’ as they produce these new medications. I have probably made it clear that I don’t feel that way; the companies that make our medications take huge risks when they choose to develop a medication, and there would be nobody taking risks if not for some reward at the end. Besides, all of those profits don’t go to a guy wearing a suit, smoking a cigar– the image that politicians use to pit people against each other during campaigns– the profits go to everyone with an IRA or pension fund, or anyone lucky enough to still have some mutual fund holdings after the past year or two!
I will copy a couple parts of the post below. The people at Bluelight are generally quite sophisticated in their drug knowledge, although the opinions expressed there are more the ‘street’ perceptions and attitudes, rather than ‘medical’. The original post can be found here.
Narcan: The Next Big Thing In Pain Management
They’re going too far.
…It all started with Talwin; a few low-level healthcare workers came up with the T’s & Blues combination, and shooting Pentazocine (which was unscheduled at the time) and Pyribenzamine (a.k.a. Tripellenamine, a common Rx cold/flu anti-Histamine of the day) spread across the country…
…Then it started: Talwin NX. Pentazocine and Naloxone, combined in one pill. To stop intravenous abuse, they said. And it did: only, abuse never stopped, it just switched to oral and insufflation. A new combination was then discovered to be adequately euphoric to abuse: Talwin NX and Ritalin. All was quiet for a couple decades, then Reckitt-Benckiser hit the lottery with their orphan drug Buprenorphine, owning the patents and branding rights for all of the Bupe products. The magic bullet that made this fortune and fame possible? Narcan. Add some, make money…
…Seriously. It worked for T’s & Blues, remember? See, Pentazocine, Buprenorphine, both partial agonists, both have a long history of IV abuse and addiction, Naloxone cured the IV Talwin problem, we will prevent IV abuse of our Buprenorphine product from ever starting by putting the Narcan in first…
..Now that two working examples of narcotic/Narcan combination products are slick deal-makers in the American Big Pharma, Federal agency shakedown game, every other mom & pop pharmaceutical company is jumping on board with a Dope/Narcan product:
While not Naloxone, it’s still an antagonist, Naltrexone. Brought to us soon by Pain Therapeutics.
Oxycodone + Naltrexone in a pain relief pill.
Quote: Pain Therapeutics’ oxycodone/naltrexone combination, OxyTrek. Factors driving the market rebound will include the premium pricing of these new therapies compared with current options, most of which will be available generically by the time the new drugs are launched.
“Improving on the significant side effects of analgesics is the near-term opportunity for drug developers, as it has been for many years, and a few companies will succeed in providing incremental improvements in safety or tolerability, despite the recent dramatic changes in the regulatory landscape,” said Michelle Grady, therapeutic area director, Pain Management, at Decision Resources, Inc.
Meaning: “We’re gonna make a ton of f***ing money duping the government, the patients and the addicts”
Morphine + an antagonist (which one is not known yet)
Quote: Alpharma has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve Embeda as a tamperproof medication for patients with moderate to severe chronic pain. The pills are formulated so that the euphoric effects of morphine are blocked when a patient crushes, dissolves or chews them. Patients often abuse pain pills by grinding them up to snort or inject.
Same old story, add antagonist, dope not so good to dope fiends, no addiction, better pain management results in old people, etc …
…I don’t think I need to add the Pharmaceutical/Industrial Complex commentary on that one. Same story as Suboxone, Talwin NX and soon OxyTrek: Make a mint with a new medication to brand and have exclusive patent rights to, get great publicity and approval from the gov’t / medical authorities for making a less addictive, less abusable, abuse-resistant, etc product. Stock manipulation by slightly altering the best selling product, create a competitor for your own product, make more money on your products by making more money on your products- a brilliant plan…
…So, thats it people. First a trickle, here comes the flood.
Combination Agonist + Antagonist opioid medications are the future, thanks to Big Pharma and the crooked insider-trading-esque laws we have regarding pharmaceutical branding, patents and distribution rights. Don’t worry though, as with every other “less addictive”, “tamper-proof” pill they make, we will all still be able to abuse, shoot, snort, parachute, plug, smoke, and combine these new and yet to be developed pills and formulations.
After all, they’re counting on it, all the way to the f***ing bank.
One medication not mentioned is a new drug on the market called Relistor– it is an interesting combination from my perspective. My neurochemistry experiences are behind my fascination with some of these new medications– which are based on our basic understandings of opiates and the brain. Relistor is essentially naloxone, altered by the attachment of another molecule so that the new molecule doesn’t pass through the ‘blood brain barrier’. The result is a medication that when injected blocks the effects of opiates on the gut, without affecting opiates in the brain. The medication is used to treat opiate-induced constipation.
As for the other products, I think that his last line summarizes the writer’s sentiment pretty well– even after I took out a few letters from one of the words!