The Crime of the Century

I just finished watching the two-part HBO documentary called The Crime of the Century that chronicles the history of America's opioid epidemic. After watching this documentary, I have a mixture of emotions: anger, outrage, disgust, sadness, to name a few. My neck got a week's worth of stretching from shaking my head back and forth so much.

I am appalled at the greed and brazen attitude of executives at pharmaceutical companies who willfully misled the public and pushed sales of opioids for profits. I'm even more appalled that the checks and balances provided by the system were circumvented in such despicable ways. 
  • Consider the FDA official who was meeting with executives at Purdue Pharma, who helped draft the language used in the FDA's approval for Oxycontin. The language stated that Oxycontin was safe with minimal risk of abuse and addiction. 
  • Consider the Insys company that had a team of people calling insurance companies and committing fraud by telling them exactly what they needed to hear to authorize payments for fentanyl. 
  • Consider the state and federal governments that settled with these companies to keep the dirty laundry private and make it seem like they were doing something. 
  • Consider the middlemen who buy the drugs from the manufacturers and distribute them to pharmacies who knew the quantities of pills and where they were going and did nothing to raise red flags. 
  • Consider the congressmen/women who received campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical companies and allowed lobbyists to influence the wording of a law that would make it harder for the DEA to issue stop orders for drug distribution.

When it comes to health, anyone who dares to tell me to "trust the FDA" or "trust the pharmaceutical companies" or "trust your representatives" or "trust the government" is simply not paying attention. Sure, there are well-intentioned people within the system, but the system itself runs on money. The incentives are not aligned with keeping a population healthy much less alive considering how many people have died due to opioid overdoses.
Wow. I get very frustrated with any documentary that talks about how bad the healthcare system is. I am having a hard time trusting doctors and anything they recommend to the point that it keeps me awake at night. I am still puzzled at how it is allowed to go on. That is why I feel that it is Hollywood and documentaries that can cause enough disruption to create change. 

2021-05-23 02:45:49
I agree with you that we cannot blindly trust these individuals and institutions. The problem is you need degrees in statistics and biology to weed through all the information to understand it for yourself. That's why I'm trying to understand things for myself and share information in an understandable format in my newsletter.
2021-05-23 14:19:03