The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Opioid Profiteers Export Addiction

Sep 16, 2019

After years of profiteering off a devastating opioid epidemic in the U.S., big pharmaceutical companies now have their sights on another huge market: India.

In 2014, the Indian government changed the law regulating narcotic drugs, easing the decades-old, strict requirements on the prescription of opioids as painkillers. What followed is similar to what happened in the U.S. in the late 1990s and early 2000s, that is, at the beginning of the current opioid epidemic. As pain clinics opened and spread fast across India, big U.S.-based drug makers, such as Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Abbott Laboratories, began to aggressively market their opioid products in this country of 1.4 billion people.

They prey on a large working-class population looking for relief from everyday exploitation and poverty. Under the guise of providing prescription painkillers, the companies flood the market with many times more opioid doses than can be prescribed and sold legally. The company executives know, of course, that millions of extra doses of opioids will find their way into the black market, and addict large numbers of people.

Right now, these big pharmaceutical companies are facing a series of lawsuits in the U.S. for this kind of reckless and intentional pushing of opioids. But even as they deny responsibility and cry innocence in these lawsuits in the U.S., they are doing the exact same thing in India.