In 1980, Dr. Hershel Jick, a medical researcher, wrote a “Letter to the Editor” that was published the New England Journal of Medicine. In it, Jick gave his opinion about the use of opioids – “We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.”
But even though this was merely a Letter to the Editor – and not a peer-reviewed study – and although this was just a single sentence contained within the letter, pharmaceutical salespeople subsequently misrepresented the contents extensively.
The “Jick Letter” has been cited thousands of times as “proof” in support of claims that opioids are not addictive. Purdue Pharma, the drug company that manufactures OxyContin, even trained its sales force to quote the letter and say that the addiction risk of their medication was “less than 1%.”
“Big Pharma” – even bigger when other Large drug companies got began copying Purdue’s strategies. Salespeople began to aggressively push opioid painkillers – crisscrossing the country nonstop while lauding these “safe” drugs’ benefits to physicians everywhere.
In particular, they recommended OxyContin and other opioids as a primary remedy for neck and back pain.
Guidelines That Were Bought and Paid for by Big Pharma
Ironically – or maybe NOT so ironically – Big Pharma companies became huge donors to nonprofits like the American Academy of Pain Management and the American Pain Society
Surprise, surprise – the American Pain Society subsequently released guidelines calling on health providers to greatly expand their use of prescription painkillers. Big Pharma even gave money to the Federation of State Medical Boards, so they could draft opioid-prescribing guidelines.
As a result, physicians could be punished for treating pain “inadequately“.
If you are struggling with painkiller dependency or addiction, Lasting Recovery, one of the most-trusted outpatient opioid recovery programs in Southern California, can help.