Johnson & Johnson Fined $572 Million for Opioid Epidemic
The decision marks a new era for the modern American opioid crisis
8/30/19, 3:32 pm EDT
By John Corry, photo from Interesting Engineering
Isn’t it strange that something as simple as a picture of a pile of pills can instill such in’tens emotion (French for intense)? Of course I don’t mean the kind aroused in the mind of a TOTAL addict (terrible people), but perhaps something close. That smell (oh!), that BURST of the brightness of the colors, that professionalism so assumed with those perfect curves and those indents accommodated in direct opposition to those disgusting needles and powders you don’t know the origination of when you find them lying on the street and think: ‘hell yeah, this is a good idea.’
An Oklahoma judge ordered major NJ-based pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for “(creating) a public nuisance by launching an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that overstated how effective the drugs were for treating chronic pain and understated the risk of addiction.” OK Attorney General Mike Hunter went on to mention that opioid overdoses killed 4,653 people in his state from 2007 to 2017. This is the first time an opioid manufacturer has been ordered to pay damages related to the opioid crisis at large. Attorneys for the company say that they plan to appeal the ruling. Other suits in states including Ohio and West Virginia are poised to be affected as well.
In addition to Johnson & Johnson, Perdue Pharma, producer and marketer of the famous OxyContin, has been named in many of those lawsuits. Hunter’s summation: “The greed of the pharmaceutical companies caused the crisis.”
Greed is a helluva drug.
Every day, over 135 people die in the United States of an opioid overdose. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the country spends $78.5 billion/year on costs related to the crisis, including healthcare, treatment, and law enforcement. More than 47,000 Americans died in 2017 from the drug. Here are some more facts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
-21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
-Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
-4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
-About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
-Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.
-The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.
-Opioid overdoses in large cities increase by 54 percent in 16 states between July of 2016 and September of 2017
Suffice it to say (suffice to say? It is sufficient to say): this is a shitty situation. Added to the slew of other ‘epidemics’ running through the country right now (‘quotes’ because that is not the technical term for some of those issues in some of those links), and no grand promise or gesture is going to change that. While this ruling certainly isn’t merely a promise or gesture–obviously a good thing in itself that the opioid crisis is being looked at more closely, it may, again, also open the door to similar rulings in some of those other cases listed above–it still doesn’t get at the crux of the matter, which is for no lack of reason: ‘honest’ opinions can’t exist in the ‘professional’ world.
WARNING: This kinda got away from me :/.
NOTE: This is mostly theoretical, and should in no way be taken a a fully academic take. I am not a brilliant-genius economist, these are just thoughts. I’d recommend Von Mises or Adam Smith as a start (do not start with Marx, unless you realize that Marx is not really talking economics in any practical sense most of the time (economics is about practicality, or action/non-action, the same way that psychology is about thought, or conscious/subconscious)).
Honesty, as a concept representing the closest practical approximation to inherently un-speakable emotions, only has value in the individualist sense, because emotions are inherently individual in-time (practically: they are different in every individual, and so any predetermined qualities potentially attached to them are only understood, and understood completely objectively at that, after the moment has passed, rendering that predetermination reactionary), and to try to combine an individual, personal ‘honesty’ with a societal standard can only, and ever will only, end, ironically, with dishonesty.
This is because the concept honesty, under this new context in which it does not directly belong (that being society), is inverted: to be ‘dishonest’ in a societal setting is to show who you really are, because society is more concerned with action wherein honesty is more easily shown, and more easily shown to greater numbers of people, through deeds rather than thoughts (the thought/action dichotomy is not the same, nor too easily capitulated to, the individual/society).
If this goes without saying: people in private settings fundamentally act differently than people in public settings, because those two contexts (private/public settings) are nearly completely opposed, one based in action, the other in thought.
As far as' ‘value’ is concerned, this brings up two points:
1) the type of value which is found in things having more to do with individualistic properties (like honesty) is different than that which has more to do societal properties. For example: I can attach a dollar amount to my car because anyone can generally get the same value out of my car, but I’m not going to charge my friends to spend time with me, because the value inherent in my spending time with them is more directly linked to my personal understanding of what I’m trying to get out of the exchange. I like hanging out with my friends because it makes me a better person, and in a way that will differ person to person, because every person is different, as is every relationship, and in a way that is much more complicated psychologically and economically (action-based) than that for a car (generally). A car is a car no matter who you are. Some cars obviously may have more personal value to certain people than others for various reasons (value is the connection between these public and private settings, here), and obviously capitalism as an economic standard is a thing (meaning: resources, supply-and-demand, division of labor (skill in-time), etc. are things), but the concept transportation is the same for all of us. That is not the case for simple time spent, or, more so, any specific consciousness potentially transcendent of time and space through learning (and so more complicated psychological relationships than materialistic) (including transportation, or anything else one may attach a dollar number to).
The other point is that honesty, retaining inherent individual value and so only indirectly retaining societal, is rendered generally useless amidst interactions with strangers, and so inherently malevolent if one comes off as ‘honest’ in any societal, or professional, setting. This is observable in virtually every encounter one has with a stranger, and even more obvious when that stranger is an acquaintance of some sort retaining no air ‘personal’, or individual, no assumed connectivity or culpability for vulnerability, both of which are, like honesty, looked upon with disdain and mistrust in the world of sheer material survival (which is what ‘professionalism’ portends).
But in a world with increasingly differentiated ontological definitions–differentiated subjectively and therefore increasingly united objectively (in-time)–those points are lost to heterogeneity. Where ‘honesty’ could have united those two ontologically opposing figures (individual and society) honesty is reverted to a mere happenstance in service to a subjective perspective existent solely for service to the objective, Absolutely.
A ‘dirty commie’ would say that that comes down to a degrading of human beings into mere numbers through the advent and subsequent takeover of currency as the sole means for materialistic survival (‘materialistic’ here used in the philosophical sense, having more to do with ‘the body’ than any type of economic stance), and while that hits at an existential factor clearly important but almost completely irrelevant from this topic, it still ignores the possibility of honesty as a unification factor, especially if placed under the light that is the complex dichotomy between communism and capitalism, and its implications regarding the complexities of economic thinking and the terms most directly involved with it (like ‘currency’). While I personally find that dichotomy to be rooted in a much deeper one–psychological and economic ways of thinking #SelfPromotionIsForChumps–it still gets closer: ‘honesty’ is not full honesty if it’s ignorant of the complexity that is honesty– that it’s closely intertwined with trust. And once trust has entered the equation, materialistic/primal and intellectual survival no longer have any distinction, and so it all falls back into simple ontology, where unification exists only a mere dream, and bodily extracts and means are the only concepts possibly understood (so: back to the thinking all you ‘dirty commies’ claim to want to avoid).
If that distinction continues to break down, as it has been since pretty much the founding of civilization (with a few ‘hiccups’), our capability to honestly represent our true feelings, knowledge, and opinions will continue to break down with it.
Lack of understanding when it comes to drugs and their effects on people comes from the fact that we can have no real conversations regarding the topic thanks to the fact that no professional, or a person with extensive knowledge on the subject (both psychology and drugs in this case), can speak out without fear of losing her job. And that’s not the ‘professional world’s’ endowment, it’s the product of a society of people refusing to distinguish between how more complex concepts like honesty, fear, and love (let alone greed, or pseudo-necessitated escapism for that matter) affect people differently in individual and societal, private, or public circumstances.