Opioid epidemic: Did the FDA ignite the crisis? — “60 Minutes” – CBS News
Ed Thompson: The root cause of this epidemic is the FDA’s illegal approval of opioids for the treatment of chronic pain.
Bill Whitaker: The FDA ignited this opioid crisis?
Ed Thompson: Without question, they started the fire. ….Ed Thompson told us when the top selling opioid, Oxycontin, was first approved in 1995, it was based on science that only showed it safe and effective when used “short-term.” But in 2001, pressured by Big Pharma and pain sufferers, the FDA made a fateful decision and, with no new science to back it up, expanded the use of Oxycontin to just about anyone with chronic ailments like arthritis and back pain.
Ed Thompson: So this is what a package insert looks like.
Bill Whitaker: Wow
The FDA did it by simply changing a few words on the label, that lengthy insert no one ever reads. Today the label says the powerful pain pills are effective for “daily, around-the-clock, long-term… treatment.” And that small label change made a big change in the way drug companies would market all opioids, allowing them to sell more and more pills at higher and higher doses.
….Ed Thompson: Correct. Probably somewhere between $7 and $10 billion a year would come off the market. We made a decision to stop selling snake oil to U.S. citizens in 1962.
Bill Whitaker: Snake oil?
Ed Thompson: Yes, sir. You’re using high-dose, long-duration opioids when they’ve never been designed to do that. There’s no evidence that they’re effective. There’s extreme evidence of harms and deaths when you use them.