Big Pharma quite literally poured opioids into Ohio between the years of 2006 and 2012, resulting in millions of years of life lost and thousands of overdose deaths.
According to data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration database and published by The Washington Post, 3.4 billion prescription pain pills, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, entered Ohio between 2006 and 2012. That is an average of 42 pills for each Ohioan each year.
Nationally the numbers are even more shocking. 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocode pills were released across the U.S. during the same time period. The flood of opioids resulted in nearly 100,000 deaths during these seven years.
The new database of information, which tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the U.S., was released as part of the largest civil action in U.S. history. Big Pharma companies have been working tirelessly for years by settling in courts where judges have agreed to keep such records sealed, resulting in the public being kept in the dark as to the size and scope of the fuel for the epidemic. These numbers provide an “unprecedented look at the surge of legal pain pills that fueled the prescription opioid epidemic.”
In Ohio alone, there were more than 1 million years of life lost due to drug overdoses in the state, according to a university by Ohio University. 81 percent of the years lost involved opioids.
Some of the counties that were hit the hardest were Jackson County, which received what amounted to 107 pills per resident per year, Gallia County received 88 pills per person per year; and Scioto County received 68 pills per person per year.
Cardinal, the leading drug manufacturer in the state said it “cannot stop physicians from writing prescriptions.”
Six companies distributed three-quarters of the pills between 2006 and 2012: McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS, and Walmart. Only three companies manufactured a whopping 88 percent of the opioids: SpecGx, a subsidiary of Mallinckrodt; Actavis Pharma; and Par Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals.
All of the above companies are being sued in federal courts across the nation for flooding the nation with opioids. The companies say they were responding to legitimate demand and have fought against the release of the database information, which they claim will give their competitors an unfair advantage. It wasn’t until this week, when U.S. District Judge Dan Polster lifted the protective order, that this information, after nearly a decade of waiting, was available to the public.
For more details on the opioid epidemic and the fight for transparency and accountability in the crisis, click here.