To the editor:
Having family in Stillwater, some of whom are senior-citizens and rely on medications, I read the Stillwater News-Press article: “Oklahoma wins case against drugmaker in historic opioid trial” (Aug 26 issue).
Some of my relatives have to take legally prescribed opioids for pain-relief and they do so prudently and responsibly. While I realize that pharmaceutical companies are often far too eager to peddle their product to doctors, and the next cog in the chain of misery is the sad reality of some doctors being overeager to prescribe opioids when less-addictive alternative measures might be possible. However, the fact is: Some people have long-term chronic pain – yet my relatives and others are prudent and conservative with usage, if anything; some may be so elderly or infirm it is difficult for them to schedule (or afford) an appointment with their Primary Care Physician every 30 days, with no refills, to monitor against abuse.
I comprehend the principle in a perfect world, but sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world. What I am leery of is that some legitimate people will abstain and live with needless pain rather than jump bureaucratic hoops of going to a doctor repeatedly for the necessary medicines they obviously need. Even ‘Tylenol 3’ (codeine) is an Opiate. While nobody wants any patient to get “hooked” or addicted to such substances; there must be a fine balance between “oversight” and “over-regulation.” It makes no sense to legalize marijuana which in some people’s opinion is a “gateway drug” to more powerful drugs later. I simply feel that legitimate patients shouldn’t be reluctant to prudently use a prescription.
While there are unscrupulous doctors who over-prescribe, most do not. Any pharmaceutical company should get a monetary fine if it used undo or excessive enticements ecnouraging wholesale “dope-pushing’ by doctors, yet, I think $572 million is excessive. I don’t think such a verdict would stand; OR if it does it will hamper future Research and Development.