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Martha Rosenberg – After 20 Years and Many Billions, Pfizer Finally Admits That Opioids Are Addictive

It is no secret that opioids are addictive even when used as prescribed. That is why they were highly restricted until fairly recently. It is also no secret that there is no evidence of the long-term usefulness of opioids in chronic pain despite unethical Pharma marketing.

Now Pfizer, the second biggest drug company in the world, has agreed to add warnings to the dangerous drugs that cause as many as 60 deaths a day in the U.S. Pfizer will disclose that opioids “carry serious risk of addiction—even when used properly,” says the Washington [3] Post, and promises “not to promote opioids for unapproved, ‘off-label’ uses such as long-term back pain. The company also will acknowledge there is no good research on opioids’ effectiveness beyond 12 weeks.”

The disclosures and warnings Pfizer has pledged are not a mea culpa. The city of Chicago sued [3] five opioid makers in 2013—Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Endo Health, and Actavis—but Pfizer was not one of them. Pfizer, which sells one opioid painkiller, was not named in the lawsuit, and there’s no admission of wrongdoing.

Instead, Pfizer is voluntarily drafting an opioid marketing code, a spokesperson told [4] FiercePharma, because Pfizer considers opioid misuse a “public health issue” and is “happy to stand alongside them [Chicago] to ensure that painkillers are marketed responsibly. We want to make sure that the right people who need it have it.” The code reflects Pfizer’s current marketing policies, said the spokesperson, and follows FDA risk-management programs for extended-release and long-acting opioids.

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