Letter: Don't surrender to the drug companies and their lobbyists

To the Editor:

Many things are hard to believe about America these days, but the Washington Post's recent article (in conjunction with 60 Minutes) "The drug industry's triumph over the DEA," ranks pretty high on the unbelievability scale. Huge sums of money from the drug industry resulted in a law that significantly hampered the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to combat the growing opioid crisis in America.

The first draft of the law was written by a drug industry lobbyist. The drug industry coordinated the activity of supposed "patient advocacy" groups--that are, in fact, supported by the drug companies—to badger legislators to support the bill. Just today there was a report that a letter to legislators supposedly from a patient advocacy group called the "Patient Access Alliance," appears to have been written by a vice president of the "Healthcare Distributors Alliance" (DHA). The DHA, of course, is a trade organization that represents "the principal suppliers of pharmaceutical opioids in the country," according to the report in The Intercept.

The bill passed through Congress on a unanimous voice vote. President Obama signed it. With the drug industry's desires now the law of the land, Big Pharma and their distributors were able to flood the market with opioids. Pharmacies in Florida and Tennessee, for example, were now able to purchase extremely large quantities of opioid pain killers to sell to Americans without any tangible scrutiny from that pesky DEA.

Is it hard to believe that Big Pharma, in order to maximize their profits, would spend huge sums of money to inocculate themselves against legal liability, deliberately flood the market with dangerous drugs, and sit back while the government (taxpayers) cleans up the mess? Then I suggest you view the film "Big Pharma - Market Failure." This is hardly the first time that Big Pharma has sold the people down the river for huge profits. Watch the movie online, free, at https://fixithealthcare.com/big-pharma-movie/.

Things must change. If, and it is a mighty big if, we and our representatives in Congress and the Statehouse have the courage to confront Big Pharma, it will be a serious start in controlling the costs of healthcare. Rights & Democracy of Bennington will screen additional health care movies over the next few months. Come and join us to learn what's really going on in our unsustainable healthcare system.

Charlie Murphy



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