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Big Doings in California: Suing the Pharmaceutical Companies and Trouble with Pot

Home / Drug Law / Big Doings in California: Suing the Pharmaceutical Companies and Trouble with Pot

Big Doings in California: Suing the Pharmaceutical Companies and Trouble with Pot

Drug problems in the Golden State


Big Pharma Suit

It’s probably old news to most people by now —the L.A. Times article is from 5/21—but it’s still groundbreaking. “Two CA counties sued five of the world’s largest narcotics manufacturers, accusing the companies of causing the nation’s prescription drug epidemic by waging a ‘campaign of deception’ aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin,” to quote almost verbatim from the article.

Obviously, unless the action was strictly meant to draw attention to the drug problem in this country, or specifically in their own state, they don’t mess around in California. The writer says that the legal action California.jpgwas similar to that launched against the tobacco industry so many years ago. The lawsuit holds that the companies manipulated doctors, fudging the truth about the benefit vs. risk ratio of several addictive drugs, even though the powers that be in the companies had evidence indicating that the risks were great. It also says that companies manipulated patients into having doctors prescribe strong narcotics when they weren’t needed.

The companies are Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ Cephalon Inc.) I had forgotten that a pharmaceutical company has been sued in the past for something like this. The article further says that “In 2007, Purdue agreed to pay $635 million to settle criminal and civil charges by the federal government and several states that it had underplayed OxyContin’s addiction risk to persuade doctors to prescribe it.”

According to the article, drug companies also used doctors to promote their medications and created advocacy organizations to promote their druges. I’m sure I’m not the only person waiting with baited breath to see how this turns out.

Discounted or Free Pot to Voters

Also in CA, San Jose held a municipal election at the beginning of this month and it sounded, in an article on an NBC News site, that it was going to be contentious since the city wanted to pass more restrictive legislation on medical marijuana. A number of Silicon Valley medical marijuana dispensaries gave away discounted and in some cases free marijuana to voters, with medical cannabis recommendations. Some people might say this is not at all surprising in the state associated with the  Haight-Ashbury flower children of the 1960’s.

Medical Pot Farms a Drain on Streams

Meanwhile, ABC News reports that in northern CA, especially in Lake, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties, rivers and streams already suffering from the drought are being hard hit by “water-guzzling medical marijuana farms, according to wildlife officials.” Those quoted maintain that much of what’s being grown isn’t medical pot at all, it’s for personal use and for use in other states where it’s illegal, and growing it is further draining, and polluting the water.

You’ve got to love technology–the plants were discovered by means of Google maps and satellite data. Lake County banned outdoor, but pot users are challenging the legislation and a referendum was supposed to be placed on the June 3 ballot.

Whoever thought that this controversy would be another side effect of growing pot, or pot legalization, depending on how you see it?

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