As need grows for painkiller overdose treatment, companies raise prices
The overdose crisis has its roots in the 1990s, when doctors began prescribing more and higher doses of painkillers. The physicians were responding to campaigns, often funded behind the scenes by drug makers, that urged doctors to prescribe the strongest painkillers not just to cancer patients and others in severe pain, but also to those with milder pain, including backaches, migraines and sports injuries.
The narcotic manufacturers’ funding of those campaigns -- and the groups that promoted them, including the now-defunct American Pain Foundation -- came to light through evidence unearthed in lawsuits and investigative journalism reports.
Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids such as oxycodone, morphine and hydrocodone sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled, even though there has been no overall change in the amount of pain reported by Americans, according to the CDC.