The Next Big Brain Cancer Drug Could Come from Marijuana


Sy Mukherjee

9:44 PM Central

Image result for marijuana

GW Pharmaceuticals (gwph, +2.63%) is already well on its way to winning the first-ever U.S. approval for a cannabis-derived therapy. But an early trial suggests that these treatments could also be an effective way to fight one of most devastating forms of brain cancers: glioblastoma multiforme.

The U.K.-based company unveiled preliminary data Tuesday from a mid-stage study on an experimental drug combining cannabidiol and THC, the “high” producing element of marijuana. Results so far show that the drug boosted brain cancer patients’ median survival rates by about six months compared to a placebo. Typically, this type of cancer ravages the brain and (on average) leaves 70% of patients dead within two years of being diagnosed.

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“We believe that the signals of efficacy demonstrated in this study further reinforce the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology and provide GW with the prospect of a new and distinct cannabinoid product candidate in the treatment of glioma,” GW CEO Justin Gover said in a statement.

GW is already interpreting the results as a reason to expand its foray into cancer treatment. The company’s most advanced drug candidate, Epidiolex (for treatment of severe epilepsy related to a number of rare disorders), is closest to reaching the U.S. market. But the firm has staked out more far-reaching ambitions in an environment where cannabis-based products have been increasingly accepted.

For one, Gover thinks that cannabidiol-based therapies show plenty of promise in behavioral disorders like schizophrenia, he told Fortune last year.

Marijuana’s effect on cancer still isn’t all that clear. A big recent review by American scientists suggests the drug is effective for treating pain and nausea in cancer patients but doesn’t necessarily treat (or cause) cancer. However, GW’s drug isn’t just a bowl of weed to be smoked – it contains concentrated derivatives and is undergoing the kind of clinical testing that could provide insights hampered by U.S. policy towards studying cannabis.

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http://fortune.com/2016/09/26/gw-pharmaceuticals-marijuana-therapy/

The price of a life-saving overdose treatment has increased 680% to $4,500 in the last 3 years


An emergency medication often referred to as an “antidote” for opioid overdoses has been skyrocketing in price over the last few years.

The device, the only auto-injector version of naloxone, is called Evzio, and it’s made by Kaleo. 

Naloxone instantly reverses opioid overdoses by blocking the drug from interacting with the brain’s receptors. It has been on the market since 1971.

In 2014, when Evzio was approved in the US, the list price was $575 for a two-pack. Now, it has a list price of $4,500 — an increase of 680%.

Kaleo, a private company based in Richmond, Virginia, also owns Auvi-Q, the emergency epinephrine device that made headlines in October 2016 when the company announced it would come back to the US as competition to the EpiPen after getting recalled a year earlier. The Auvi-Q and Evzio use the same auto-injector technology to deliver their respective emergency medications. 

The list price for a two-pack of the Auvi-Q comes in at $4,500 as well, though the company maintains that the cash price for people without insurance is $360 and that more than 200 million people will be able to get the device with a $0 copay. That list price is roughly 640% higher than the list price of the EpiPen, which was singled out in August 2016 for increasing the price of a two-pack by 500% over the course of seven years.

Now, the list prices of the two drugs is catching the eye of Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who sent a letter Friday to Kaleo asking for more information about the company’s pricing strategy.

List prices don’t often tell the whole story when it comes to a drug’s price. There are other players in the system that each take a piece, which means that what a drugmaker actually receives could be lower even as the list price rises. Kaleo declined to comment on its average net price for Evzio. 

“When setting the ‘list’ price for products, kaléo always starts with the needs of the patient first and then engages with multiple stakeholders in the healthcare system,” Kaleo’s vice president of corporate affairs Mark Herzog said in a statement emailed to Business Insider. “Following these discussions, in order to help ensure our product is available as an option to most patients for $0 out-of-pocket, we set the list price at $4500.”

The rationale of the company’s pricing strategy didn’t seem to satisfy Klobuchar. 

auvi q 

“I understand that Kaleo is trying to mitigate the impact on consumers by providing Evzio for free to cities, first responders, and drug treatment programs, and offering various programs to help ensure that no consumer pays the $4,500 price for Auvi-Q,” Klobuchar wrote. “While these subsidies and programs are noteworthy, I am concerned that they do not address the underlying problem of rising prescription drug costs.”

This isn’t the first time rising naloxone prices have been called out. Until recently, Evzio’s price had been $3,750 per two-pack. And across the board, naloxone prices have been skyrocketing, as Business Insider’s Harrison Jacobs has reported.

However, most other naloxone options — syringes, and a nasal spray — have list prices in the hundreds for sets of 10 vials or two nose sprays. As a proportion of total naloxone market, Evzio made up roughly a third of prescriptions in 2016, according to data from IMS Health.

It remains to be seen how many prescriptions transfer from the EpiPen to the Auvi-Q. Before it was recalled, Auvi-Q only had a small share of the market at a list price of around $500.

But its high list price is already turning off health insurers and pharmacy benefits managers. FiercePharma reports that Cigna, Humana, and the pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts have come out against the pricing strategy for Auvi-Q, while Aetna is putting it on restricted coverage. The device officially launches in the US on February 14. 

CONTINUE READING…

How A Psychedelic Drug Helps Cancer Patients Overcome Anxiety


December 3, 20167:00 AM ET

Robin Marantz Henig

 

Psychedelic drugs could provide relief for anxiety and depression among advanced cancer patients.

The brilliantly-colored shapes reminded Carol Vincent of fluorescent deep-sea creatures, and they floated past her languidly. She was overwhelmed by their beauty — and then suddenly, as if in a dream, she was out somewhere in deep space instead. “Oh, wow,” she thought, overwhelmed all over again. She had been an amateur skydiver in her youth, but this sensation didn’t come with any sense of speeding or falling or even having a body at all. She was just hovering there, gazing at the universe.

Vincent was having a psychedelic experience, taking part in one of the two studies just published that look at whether cancer patients like her could overcome their death-related anxiety and depression with a single dose of psilocybin.

It turned out they could, according to the studies, conducted at New York University and Johns Hopkins and reported this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. NYU and Hopkins scientists gave synthetic psilocybin, the hallucinogenic component of “magic mushrooms,” to a combined total of 80 people with advanced cancer suffering from depression, anxiety, and “existential angst.” At follow-up six months or more later, two-thirds of the subjects said their anxiety and depression had pretty much disappeared after a single dose.

And about 80 percent said the psilocybin experience was “among the most personally meaningful of their lives,” Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and leader of the Hopkins team, said in an interview.

That’s how it was for Vincent, one of the volunteers in Griffiths’ study. By the time she found her way to Hopkins in 2014, Vincent, now 61, had been living for six years with a time bomb of a diagnosis: follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which she was told was incurable. It was asymptomatic at the time except for a few enlarged lymph nodes, but was expected to start growing at some undefined future date; when it did, Vincent would have to start chemotherapy just to keep it in check. By 2014, still symptom-free, Vincent had grown moderately anxious, depressed, and wary, on continual high alert for signs that the cancer growth had finally begun.

“The anvil over your head, the constant surveillance of your health — it takes a toll,” says Vincent, who owns an advertising agency in Victoria, British Columbia. She found herself thinking, “What’s the point of this? All I’m doing is waiting for the lymphoma. There was no sense of being able to look forward to something.” When she wasn’t worrying about her cancer, she was worrying about her son, then in his mid-20s and going through a difficult time. What would happen to him if she died?

Participating in the psilocybin study, she says, was the first thing she’d looked forward to in years.

The experiment involved two treatments with psilocybin, roughly one month apart — one at a dose high enough to bring on a markedly altered state of consciousness, the other at a very low dose to serve as a control. It’s difficult to design an experiment like this to compare treatment with an actual placebo, since it’s obvious to everyone when a psychedelic experience is underway.

The NYU study used a design similar to Hopkins’ but with an “active placebo,” the B vitamin niacin, instead of very-low-dose psilocybin as the control. Niacin speeds up heart rate but doesn’t have any psychedelic effect. In both studies it was random whether a volunteer got the dose or the control first, but everyone got both, and the order seemed to make no difference in the outcome.

Vincent had to travel from her home in Victoria to Baltimore for the sessions; her travel costs were covered by the Heffter Research Institute, the New Mexico nonprofit that funded both studies. She spent the day before each treatment with the two Hopkins staffers who would be her “guides” during the psilocybin trip. They helped her anticipate some of the emotional issues — the kind of baggage everyone has — that might come to the fore during the experience.

The guides told Vincent that she might encounter some hallucinations that were frightening, and that she shouldn’t try to run away from them. “If you see scary stuff,” they told her, “just open up and walk right in.”

They repeated that line the following day — “just open up and walk right in” — when Vincent returned to Hopkins at 9 a.m., having eaten a light breakfast. The treatment took place in a hospital room designed to feel as homey as possible. “It felt like your first apartment after college, circa 1970,” she says, with a beige couch, a couple of armchairs and some abstract art on the wall.

Vincent was given the pill in a ceramic chalice, and in about 20 minutes she started to feel woozy. She lay down on the couch, put on some eye shades and headphones to block out exterior sights and sounds, and focused on what was happening inside her head. The headphones delivered a carefully-chosen playlist of Western classical music, from Bach and Beethoven to Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” interspersed with some sitar music and Buddhist chants. Vincent recalled the music as mostly soothing or uplifting, though occasionally there were some brooding pieces in a minor key that led her images to a darker place.

Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

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Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

With the music as background, Vincent started to experience a sequence of vivid hallucinations that took her from the deep sea to vast outer space. Listening to her describe it is like listening to anyone describe a dream — it’s a disjointed series of scenes, for which the intensity and meaning can be hard to convey.

She remembered seeing neon geometric shapes, a gold shield spelling out the name Jesus, a whole series of cartoon characters — a fish, a rabbit, a horse, a pirate ship, a castle, a crab, a superhero in a cape — and at some point she entered a crystal cave encrusted with prisms. “It was crazy how overwhelmed by the beauty I was,” she says, sometimes to the point of weeping. “Everything I was looking at was so spectacular.”

At one point she heard herself laughing in her son’s voice, in her brother’s voice, and in the voices of other family members. The cartoon characters kept appearing in the midst of all that spectacular beauty, especially the “comical crab” that emerged two more times. She saw a frightening black vault, which she thought might contain something terrifying. But remembering her guides’ advice to “just open up and walk right in,” she investigated, and found that the only thing inside it was herself.

When the experience was over, about six hours after it began, the guides sent Vincent back to the hotel with her son, who had accompanied her to Baltimore, and asked her to write down what she’d visualized and what she thought about it.

Griffiths had at first been worried about giving psychedelics to cancer patients like Vincent, fearing they might actually become even more afraid of death by taking “a look into the existential void.”

But even though some research participants did have moments of panic in which they thought they were losing their minds or were about to die, he said the guides were always able to settle them down, and never had to resort to the antipsychotic drugs they had on hand for emergencies. (The NYU guides never had to use theirs, either.)

How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe

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How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe

Many subjects came away feeling uplifted, Griffiths says, talking about “a sense of unity,” feeling part of “an interconnected whole.” He adds that even people who are atheists, as Vincent is, described the feeling as precious, meaningful or even sacred.

The reasons for the power and persistence of psilocybin’s impact are still “a big mystery,” according to Griffiths. “That’s what makes this research, frankly, so exciting,” he says. “There’s so much that’s unknown, and it holds the promise for really understanding the nature of human meaning-making and consciousness.”

He says he looks forward to using psilocybin in other patient populations, not just people with terminal diagnoses, to help answer larger existential questions that are “so critical to our experience as human organisms.”

Two and a half years after the psychedelic experience, Carol Vincent is still symptom-free, but she’s not as terrified of the “anvil” hanging over her, no longer waiting in dread for the cancer to show itself. “I didn’t get answers to questions like, ‘Where are you, God?’ or ‘Why did I get cancer?’ ” she says. What she got instead, she says, was the realization that all the fears and worries that “take up so much of my mental real estate” turn out to be “really insignificant” in the context of the big picture of the universe.

This insight was heightened by one small detail of her psilocybin trip, which has stayed with her all this time: that little cartoon crab that floated into her vision along with the other animated characters.

“I saw that crab three times,” Vincent says. The crab, she later realized, is the astrological sign of cancer — the disease that terrified her, and also the sign that both her son and her mother were born under. These were the three things in her life that she cared about, and worried over, most deeply, she says. “And here they were, appearing as comic relief.”

Science writer Robin Marantz Henig is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the author of nine books.

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The Bayer-Monsanto Deal Won’t Eat the Cannabis Industry. Yet.


Submitted by Marijuana News on Fri, 09/16/2016 – 08:10

 

The news that Monsanto is being bought by Bayer probably won’t be well received in the cannabis sector. The deal brings together two research powerhouses that, reportedly, have long eyed cannabis as a possible new business. The worry is that the combined firm will have the financial and political influence to do to cannabis what it has already done to corn, tobacco, and other cash crops—namely, use pricy patented cannabis seeds (Roundup Ready Blue Dream, anyone?) that favor large-scale operators and rigidly control how all cannabis farmers farm. The merger, in other words, could be the first step toward Big Cannabis.

In truth, it’s far from certain just how worried “small cannabis” should be. On the one hand, Bayer clearly has designs on the multi-billion-dollar cannabis market. The German firm has been working with GW Pharmaceuticals on a cannabis-based medicinal extract since 2003. And while Monsanto says it “has not and is not working on GMO marijuana,” the company will soon enjoy access to Bayer’s cannabis expertise, which, given Monsanto’s control-through-litigation tactics, might lead one to imagine some pretty bleak scenarios.

That said, it’s hardly clear that this merger makes those scenarios—or Big Cannabis generally—any more plausible.

First, as a practical matter, the merger itself is still just a theory. Monsanto’s shareholders accepted Bayer’s $66 billion buyout offer, but the mega-dealneeds approval from American and German regulators. And given the firms’ massive market share (it would control more than a quarter of the world’s seed and fertilizer business) on top of strong antitrust sentiment worldwide, that approval is hardly assured. And, as a side note, 60 to 80 percent of all mergers fail.

Second, even if approved, a Bayer-Monsanto enterprise likely wouldn’t launch a cannabis product until federal prohibition is lifted. It’s the same reason Big Tobacco hasn’t completely taken over cannabis, despite a decades-old interest in doing so: Massive corporations need massive volume sales, which, in the case of cannabis, is hard to do without a fully open national marketplace. Yes, some in Big Pharma are now reportedly lobbying in favor of legalization—but there’s hardly a sector-wide consensus, as the recent anti-legalization effort by Insys Therapeutics underscores.

Third, even if the feds legalized cannabis tomorrow, a Bayer-Monsanto mega-corporation probably won’t result in any retail cannabis products for some time. It’s true that Bayer has already partnered with pharmaceutical firms that are doing trials of cannabis drugs. Also, Monsanto may be less than candid when it says it hasn’t (yet) tinkered with cannabis’s genetics. But however far along their respective cannabis research efforts are, turning research into commercial product takes years, especially in a market as heavily regulated and politically fragmented as cannabis will continue to be.

Fourth, when it comes to the rise of Big Cannabis, a Bayer-Monsanto merger would merely add to a process that is already well underway. The seed and drug industries are hardly the first mainstream sectors to try to colonize cannabis. Since the start of state legalization, nearly every outside industry with a conceivable cannabis play—tobacco of course, but also food and beverage, clothing, health & wellness, tourism, and Silicon Valley venture capital—has been scrambling to bring the cannabis sector out of the margins and into the mainstream.

More to the point, as the cannabis community itself has matured, it has been moving incrementally toward a business model that, if one didn’t know better, looks surprisingly corporate. For example, with competitive pressures squeezing retail margins, a steady stream of independent retailers have been selling out to larger, more cost-efficient retail chains. This is especially the case in Colorado. Likewise, in a mirror image of the larger faming business, struggling small-scale cannabis farms are being consolidated into larger scale operations whose managers (and investors) are anxiously adopting any method, or technology, that might help them boost output and lower costs. Five or ten years from now, will those farms turn their noses up at a genetically engineered cannabis strain that promises more bang for the buck? More to the point, will their customers?

And therein lies the rub. It may be tempting to see mergers like this one as a threat to the traditional cannabis community, a culture that values a diverse mix of independent small-scale operators. Make no mistake: A merger of this magnitude does promise big changes for global agriculture. But in a cannabis sector that is looking more and more like any other consumer sector, the larger factor may the changing priorities of the cannabis consumer. In the end, the customer’s dollar determines which products—and companies—succeed or fail.

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The FDA Just Outlawed Hemp Oil


The FDA Just Outlawed Hemp Oil — The #1 Cancer Treatment in The World

 

VIA/Hemp oil extracts containing CBDs (cannibidiols) are such a threat to the pharmaceutical industry that the FDA is now invoking totally insane justifications for outlawing them.

FDA’s own website: “12. Can products that contain cannabidiol be sold as dietary supplements? A. No. Based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that cannabidiol products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition…”

The FDA has also started sending aggressive warning letters to CBD product marketers.

Cannabis Oil - Banned by FDA

CBDs are non-psychoactive compounds found naturally in hemp plants. They work so well as powerful natural medicine that people everywhere are realizing CBDs work better than pharmaceuticals for treating epilepsy, seizures, neurological disorders and other serious health conditions (including HIV infections).

So the FDA has just launched a massive regulatory assault against CBDs by invoking the most insane logic you’ve ever heard. Here’s how it goes:

1) CBDs work so well that drug companies are now investigating them to be approved by the FDA as medicines.

2) Because CBDs are being investigated by drug companies, the FDA has granted CBDs status as being “investigated as a new drug.”

In the FDA’s own language from their website:

“FDA CONSIDERS A SUBSTANCE TO BE ‘AUTHORIZED FOR INVESTIGATION AS A NEW DRUG’ IF IT IS THE SUBJECT OF AN INVESTIGATIONAL NEW DRUG APPLICATION (IND) THAT HAS GONE INTO EFFECT.”

3) Because CBDs work so well and have been authorized for drug investigations, the FDA now OUTLAWS them being sold as dietary supplements.

Per the FDA’s own website:

“FDA HAS CONCLUDED THAT CANNABIDIOL PRODUCTS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE DIETARY SUPPLEMENT DEFINITION UNDER SECTION 201(FF)(3)(B)(II) OF THE FD&C ACT.

“UNDER THAT PROVISION, IF A SUBSTANCE (SUCH AS CANNABIDIOL) HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED FOR INVESTIGATION AS A NEW DRUG FOR WHICH SUBSTANTIAL CLINICAL INVESTIGATIONS HAVE BEEN INSTITUTED AND FOR WHICH THE EXISTENCE OF SUCH INVESTIGATIONS HAS BEEN MADE PUBLIC, THEN PRODUCTS CONTAINING THAT SUBSTANCE ARE OUTSIDE THE DEFINITION OF A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT.”

4) Now the FDA has begun sending warning letters to CBD makers, claiming they are in violation of FDA regulations because they are selling “adulterated products.”

Adulterated with what, exactly? CBDs, of course!

“THE DEBATE OVER HEMP CBD’S LEGAL STATUS CONTINUES AFTER FDA SENT EIGHT WARNING LETTERS TO MANUFACTURERS OF CBD DIETARY SUPPLEMENT AND FOOD PRODUCTS EARLIER THIS MONTH,” REPORTS NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK.

“THE WARNING LETTERS CITE IMPERMISSIBLE HEALTH CLAIMS USED TO MARKET THE PRODUCTS, AS WELL AS CBD’S INVALID STATUS AS A DIETARY INGREDIENT DUE TO ITS PRESENCE IN TWO DRUG APPLICATIONS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSIDERATION.”

The FDA just criminalized one of the most miraculous healing medicines in the world by handing it over to Big Pharma

In other words, the FDA just handed Big Pharma an absolute monopoly over CBDs (hemp oil extract) by ridiculously claiming such natural products are “adulterated” with molecules (CBDs) that the FDA says might one day become a drug.

“Drugs,” according to the FDA, are substances that are proven to treat, prevent or cure a disease, and thus the FDA’s own logic admits that CBDs must be able to treat, prevent or cure diseases, otherwise they would be useless as “drugs”.

But when a dietary supplement company makes the same claim, they are hit with aggressive warning letters from the FDA, threatening to shut them down, confiscate their products and seek criminal prosecution of the company executives.

This is how the FDA can instantly criminalize any vitamin or plant extract

Do you see how this twisted, corrupt regulatory tactic can allow the FDA to instantly criminalize any dietary supplement, vitamin, herb or plant extract?

Vitamin D, for example, could be outlawed by the FDA announcing that it has granted “Investigational New Drug application (IND)” status to any drug company studying vitamin D.

Using this same corrupt, mafia-style tactic, the FDA could outlaw resveratrol or even vitamin C, denying Americans the right to access safe, affordable, natural substances that are routinely found in nature.

It’s time to end the FDA’s monopolization over natural plant molecules

If humanity is ever to achieve medical freedom, we must end the FDA’s outrageous medical monopolization of plant molecules such as CBDs.

By allowing this corrupt, criminally-run regulatory agency to criminalize every molecule found in nature, our nation’s lawmakers condemn us all to life in what can only be called medical totalitarianism under FDA tyranny.

Any time a healing substances is found in nature, the FDA can simply assert that such molecules are now in the process of being studied as drugs and are therefore illegal to sell as dietary supplements even though they were developed by Mother Nature, not drug companies.

This FDA tactic is nothing more than the FDA proclaiming intellectual monopolies over all molecules of interest found in nature.

It is Monsanto-like in its arrogance and wickedness, and it deprives the People of their right to access medicinal plants and healing substances that have existed in nature for countless thousands of years long before the FDA ever came into existence (1906).

If we do not stop this FDA, we are all doomed to living under a totalitarian regulatory regime that will systematically criminalize every healing molecule found in nature, from the curcuminoids in turmeric root to green tea catechins and even phycocyanins found in spirulina.

That this federal agency has now resorted to such tactics of medical totalitarianism and outright tyranny is proof that we need to strip the FDA of regulatory powers over natural dietary supplements and limit its domain to pharmaceutical drugs only.

Coincidentally, a Presidential election is upon us that threatens to shake up the entire establishment if the right person wins.

“Establishment” candidates on both sides of the aisle would simply continue the FDA war on natural molecules that’s now under way, but there is one candidate who has openly threatened to challenge the authority of federal regulators like the EPA and FDA.

FDA begins crackdown by targeting inaccurate label claims… but it won’t end there

The FDA has now declared war on CBDs and hemp oil extracts. Its first targets are those companies who have inaccurate label claims or are committing outright fraud in claiming CBD concentrations that don’t even exist in their products.

On this point, I must agree that inaccurate label claims deserve regulatory enforcement. The CBD industry is heavily populated with fraudulent sellers whose products often contain no CBDs at all.

“THE FDA HAS TURNED ITS BACK ON THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY, CLAIMING THAT CBD PRODUCTS CANNOT BE SOLD AS DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS,” REPORTSCANNA BUSINESS.

“COMPANIES AFFECTED BY THE LATEST CRACKDOWN INCLUDE CALI STORES, DOSE OF NATURE, GREEN GARDEN GOLD, HEALTHY HEMP OIL, MICHIGAN HERBAL REMEDIES, MORGUE JUICE, PAIN BOMB AND SANA TE PREMIUM OILS. ACCORDING TO THE FDA’S ANALYSIS, ALL PRODUCTS CONTAINED DIFFERENT AMOUNTS OF 9-THC, THCA, CBDA, CBN AND CBD THAN THEY HAD CLAIMED.”

The second target of the FDA is companies that made disease treatment claims that their CBD products might treat epilepsy, cancer or other conditions.

The FDA, of course, routinely attacks any dietary supplement maker that tells the truth about the medicinal benefits of their products.

According to the FDA, there is no such thing as any food, nutrient, herb or natural molecule that has any ability whatsoever to treat, prevent or cure any disease.

This position is, of course, patently absurd and stands in total violation of nutritional science, but it is the “big lie” the FDA must maintain in order to keep putting dietary supplement companies out of business.

Once the FDA finishes destroying all the companies with inaccurate labels and disease marketing claims, it will target all the honest suppliers of CBDs who are selling genuine, honest products that contain accurate CBD labels.

This is the real goal of the FDA: to threaten, intimidate and destroy the entire CBD industry and thereby protect the medical monopolies of drug companies that can’t wait to cash in on these amazing molecules that really do treat disease (otherwise, Big Pharma would have no interest in them).

This is how the FDA keeps the medical racket marching along

And so the great medical monopoly racket marches on, with the FDA giving a big “F-YOU” to the American people while handing lucrative medical monopolies to its greed-driven friends in the pharmaceutical industry.

Meanwhile, the American people are denied healing medicine that works at a fraction of the cost of overpriced pharmaceuticals.

Entrepreneurial companies that offer such hemp oil extracts containing CBDs — natural medicines that could help reduce human suffering while lowering health care costs nationwide — are threatened by the FDA with devastating enforcement actions that could land their executives in prison.

This is all part of the FDA’s war on natural medicine that systematically criminalizes molecules found in nature and the people who seek to make those molecules available to patients in need.

While disease suffering skyrockets across America and medical expenses push more and more families over the threshold of bankruptcy and destitution, isn’t it comforting to know that your federal government is doing everything in its power to deny you access to safe, affordable natural medicine while protecting the profits of the drug giants?

What can you do to oppose this medical tyranny by the FDA?

None of this is ever going to change, by the way, if we keep electing establishment politicians to the White House.

If you want to see real change in the legalization of hemp extract components such as CBDs, you’d better vote for someone who terrifies the establishment and threatens to tear it down.

At the same time, you need to support health freedom organizations like the Alliance for Natural Health, which is fighting to keep dietary supplements legal in America.

You should also watch this video animation that exposes the anti-dietary supplement bias of PBS Frontline, which recently ran a totally dishonest hit piece documentary attacking supplements.

There is a nationwide effort under way right now to criminalize ALL dietary supplements and force every plant extract, vitamin or food concentrate to be regulated by the FDA as if they were prescription drugs.

This would utterly wipe out the entire dietary supplements industry and plunge America into an era of runaway disease, suffering and death as people are denying access to the healing nutrients that are presently preventing disease (and even reversing serious disease in some cases).

Finally, share this story and join the Natural News email list (below) to stay informed on all this.

As the editor of Natural News, I am fighting for your right to access CBDs and hemp oil extracts, as they are amazing natural medicines that can treat, prevent and in some cases even help cure serious health conditions.

The FDA is anti science and anti human rights

We have a fundamental human right to access healing plants found in nature, and the FDA has systematically sought to destroy that right and criminalize those who seek to express it.

Access to Mother Nature’s healing molecules is a fundamental human right that exists above and beyond the Bill of Rights. It is a DIVINE right.

To reestablish our access to these rights, we need a political revolution in Washington that puts people in power who are ready and willing to dismantle the FDA and end its devastating monopolies over dietary supplements, medicinal herbs and natural molecules found in nature.

We need to legalize health freedom in America and set this nation on a new path of disease prevention and drastically reduced health care costs through access to affordable, natural medicines.

The only way to accomplish this is to end the FDA’s reign of tyranny over the dietary supplements industry.

We need a new health freedom revolution in America, and it starts at the ballot box. It’s time to start electing outsiders, not insiders… people who the terrify the Washington establishment because they know their insidious grip on regulatory power will be challenged.

If you want medical marijuana legalized, or if you want access to CBD oil as an affordable dietary supplement, it’s time to start voting for people the establishment is desperately trying to destroy.

Because it is only those people who have any real hope of achieving the kind of political and legislative goals that will end the FDA’s stranglehold on natural medicine in America.

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Historic Federal Summit on Medicine Marijuana Is Slanted By Drug War Agenda


Legalization Nation

 

By David Downs

 

A seemingly historic medical marijuana summit by several US government health agencies will largely exclude evidence coming from the states that have legalized medical cannabis — another example of entrenched Washington, DC bureaucrats placing politics over science in the marijuana debate.

nih_logo.png

    The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and four other NIH institutes and centers is holding the “Marijuana and Cannabinoids: A Neuroscience Research Summit” today and tomorrow in Bethesda, Maryland.

    “The overarching goal is to present current basic research and evidence-based information to identify research gaps to ultimately inform science, practice, and policy,” an NCCIH release states.
    But the presence of at least one co-sponsor, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ensures that the summit will be less about healing and more about Reefer Madness. NIDA’s official mission is to fund studies to find harms in cannabis — not any benefit. The summit will not include leading doctors who treat patients with medical marijuana, or patients themselves.
    Instead, NIDA’s director, Dr. Nora Volkow is opening and closing the summit, which will showcase NIDA’s most recent research efforts to show marijuana harms the brain, brain development, and function. The White House Drug Czar will weigh in after lunch, followed by talks on pot and psychosis, pot addiction, and combining pot with alcohol.

     

    [You can watch the NIH Marijuana Summit online here.]


    Only at the end of the day will speakers address the ability of cannabis to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. A marijuana-derived drug reduced seizures by 40 percent in kids with untreatable epilepsy, clinical trials revealed last week.

    Tomorrow, NIDA will relay its latest on pot and driving in the morning. Talks on cannabis’ potential for use on pain and anxiety precede discussions about potential negative health effects of legalization.
    States with medical marijuana laws have 25 percent less opioid overdoses than states without cannabis access, a study published in JAMA showed.
    In February, US Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachussetts, asked the CDC to consider legalizing pot to stem the opioid overdose epidemic.
    The summit is a missed opportunity, said Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, affiliated faculty of the MultiCare Institute of Research and Innovation. Aggarwal just spent a year as a clinical fellow at the NIH intramural campus, and wrote us that “there is a strong bureaucratic taboo in discussing any of the reemerging science or art of cannabis medicine.”
    “This conference does break down some of that taboo, but performs a great disservice to the American people by excluding in the core agenda medical and scientific speakers who can describe health lessons learned from the two dozen medical cannabis state level programs in the United States,” he wrote.

    Millions of patients have been treated by botanical cannabis, Aggarwal notes. One in twenty California adults have reported using medical cannabis for a serious condition and 92 percent of them believe pot worked, researchers report.

    “This belies the strong phamaceuticalized cannabis slant of this conference, despite its co-sponsorship by the National Center on Complementary and Integrative Health, which ought to be studying cannabis and cannabinoid integrative health and medicine, not ignoring it,” Aggarwal wrote.
    The doctor who wrote the textbook on cannabis in Integrative Oncology, Donald Abrams of San Francisco, is also not part of the summit. Neither is leading researcher on using marijuana to treat PTSD — Dr. Sue Sisley.

    According to the National Cancer Institute, cannabis users have a 45 percent decrease in the likelihood of bladder cancer compared to non-users.
    The journal Epidemiology reported cannabis users had 30 percent less likelihood of diabetes compared to non-users in studies.

    The American Epilepsy Society reported a 47 percent drop in pediatric epileptic seizures during clinical trials of cannabis extract Epidiolex, and 9 percent of kids in the study became seizure-free.
    Cannabis is ranked number one on the US government list of the most dangerous drugs. Researchers report facing more hurdles to studying botanical cannabis than any other drug.
    Prescription opioids are far less controlled. The number of overdose deaths from cannabis in recorded history is zero, while the number of overdose deaths from opioids in 2014 in the United States totaled 28,647. Doctors wrote 259 million opioid pain medication prescriptions in 2012. About 100 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses.

    CONTINUE READING…

    French drug trial disaster leaves one brain dead, five injured


    PARIS | By Matthias Blamont

    Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:30am EST

     

    An ambulance is seen outside the Emergency Entrance at the CHU de Rennes hospital, in Rennes, France, where six people are in a serious condition after taking part in a medical trial for an unnamed European laboratory to test a new drug, France’s health ministry said January…Reuters/Stephane Mahe

    One person has been left brain dead and five others are in serious condition after taking part in a clinical trial in France of an experimental painkiller made by Portuguese drug company Bial, the French Health Ministry said on Friday.

    The medicine involved works by targeting the body’s pain-controlling endocannabinoid system, which is also responsible for the human response to cannabis.

    The ministry said the six volunteers in Rennes, in western France, had been in good health until taking the oral medication at a private facility that specializes in carrying out clinical trials.

     

    The brain-dead volunteer was admitted to hospital in Rennes on Monday. Other patients went in on Wednesday and Thursday.

    The volunteers are all men aged 28 to 49, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine told a news conference. They started taking the drug on Jan 7. One person started feeling ill on Sunday and the other five afterwards.

    In total, 90 people have taken part in the trial, taking some dosage of the drug, she said, adding that others took a placebo.

    All trials on the drug have been suspended and all volunteers who have taken part in the trial are being called back.

    A spokeswoman for the European Medicines Agency in London said it did not have full details of the case but was monitoring the situation.

    Cases of early-stage clinical trials going badly wrong are rare but not unheard of. In 2006, six healthy volunteers given an experimental drug in London ended up in intensive care. One was described as looking like "the elephant man" after his head ballooned. Another lost his fingertips and toes.

    "INHERENT RISK"

    In the initial Phase I stage of clinical testing, a drug is given to healthy volunteers to see how it is handled by the body and what is the right dose to give to patients.

    "Undertaking Phase 1 studies is highly specialist work," said Daniel Hawcutt, a lecturer in clinical pharmacology at Britain’s University of Liverpool.

    Medicines then go into larger Phase II and Phase III trials to assess their effectiveness and safety before they are finally approved for sale.

    Europe has strict regulations governing the conduct of clinical trials, with Phase I tests subject to particular scrutiny. But Ben Whalley, a professor of neuropharmacology at the University of Reading, said these could only minimize risks, not abolish them.

    "There is an inherent risk in exposing people to any new compound," he said.

    The 2006 London trial led to the collapse of Germany’s TeGenero, the company developing a medicine known as TGN1412. The drug has since gone back into tests for rheumatoid arthritis and is showing promise when given at a fraction of the original dose.

    (Additional reporting by Ben Hirschler, John Irish, Noelle Mennella and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Michel Rose and Larry King)

    CONTINUE READING…

    My reply to the "Opinion" From December 30, 2015 or "pot Should Stay Illegal In Kentucky"…


     

    Above:  Mary Thomas-Spears talks with Sen. Perry Clark at the “Comfy Tree Symposium” in Louisville in 2014

     

    To:  Bowling Green Daily News,

             813 College Street
    P.O. Box 90012
    Bowling Green, KY 42102

    Website Link

    Opinions:  “Pot should stay illegal in Kentucky”

    From:  Rev. Mary L. Thomas-Spears, Bowling Green, Kentucky  42101

    Dear “Pot should stay illegal in Kentucky”,

    That was all like a bad scene straight out of Reefer Madness, or the equivalent of BS propaganda.  Yet all very well said for a pot dealer???!

    I couldn’t help but notice you did not bother to take the time to sign your name or to take any credit for that medieval excrement – Your opinion which you felt so valuable.  It would cut into your profit margin if you had to suddenly become legitimate, wouldn’t it?

    If Marijuana/Pot/Cannabis Prohibition was repealed in Kentucky and/or the U.S. it would put the pot dealer in the Black Market out of business and you wouldn’t be working for the FDA’s DEA anymore.

    After all, Congress was only given authority over Currency, Foreign War and the market place, which is why they created “Prohibition”, to control and divide the market place, in order to maximize their profit margins, through supply and demand, and the Black Market they claim to be fighting against while in essence owning it.  So you work for them, right?

    Opinions like yours are in fact, proof, that “opinions are like a$$holes…   They are undeniable evidence of the disgusting amount of (or level of) illiteracy and mis-education, or as Dr. Gupta put it, “brainwashing”, on the highest levels, within and outside of the Commonwealth, in my opinion.

    We can thank William Randolf Hearst and his desire to print the news on wooden paper, as he owned millions of acres of trees for creating the propaganda and printing it on to begin with, and all these years later, despite all the published facts, research, science and truth to the contrary of this Marijuana Madness propaganda, we can thank you for attempting to continue the BS.

    After all, up until then all of our news was printed on Hemp (= Cannabis Sativa L = Marijuana).

    I am sure if my friend, colleague, mentor and Attorney, Gatewood Galbraith were here today in the flesh he would agree with me on everything I have said or will say.  While adding a few colorful comments or opinions of his own, of course,  like,

    “I wish all you would stop getting high long enough to read my book!”  “I’d even give you a free copy so that you might educate yourselves on the fact that Marijuana is already legal, as I explained to Greg Stumbo!”

    It all comes down to understanding the words and their legal meanings, the Constitution and your Rights and Freedoms along with precedence of Rulings handed down by the Supreme Court like Leary vs. The United States,  as I explained in “Last Free Man in America meets the synthetic subversions”.

    In his book he also explains that ending Marijuana Prohibition in Kentucky would save the Commonwealth approximately $500 Million Dollars and year, just in healthcare and related costs alone.

    The actual figures coming in from other States who have already passed similar laws are in fact very favorable as well as being in support of Gatewood’s estimate or prediction.

    Gatewood Galbraith also explains in his book that Marijuana, like Ibogaine (which is also prohibited in the U.S.), is known to, in fact, break addiction.  Evidence that Y(our) Government is not against addiction or are not fighting addiction as them claim they are.

    After all, the market place functions on supply and demand and addiction fuels or increases the demand, therefore increasing the profits.  This is why they have prohibited both of these plants in the U.S.  As former President Bush said without a flinch “We are a Nation addicted to gasoline”.  So why haven’t they prohibited possession of gasoline?  After all, how many have died throughout the last year alone huffing it or consuming it?  Or as a result of crashes?

    Yet, it is a controlled substance like Marijuana, controlled through taxation, which recognizes the substance as legal and through the Tax with which it is controlled under (= 1937 Marijuana Tax Act), did just that (legalize), despite it having been repealed by Leary v. United States, in the Supreme Court, on the Federal level, in a ruling that agreed that He (= We, have a divine, inalienable, sovereign, natural right and freedom to utilize Marijuana), (Marijuana = Cannabis Sativa L “untaxed”).

    The Commonwealth of Kentucky has passed its own Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws – Legalizing thru taxation.

    WHY??? Why would people of any State pass a law, or vote in a law to pay the State or a Commonwealth to tax them for a right or freedom that has already been granted to them by not only Divine authority but by the highest Court in the land on the highest level?  While basically declaring themselves as Federal informants to a Government who has already abused it’s power and authority by passing not one, but two illegal and unconstitutional Acts of Congress (= the CSA or Controlled Substance Act).

    All of this is a part of the “Synthetic Subversion” or war on plants and nature (not just Marijuana), as Corporations like Monsanto and Dupont scramble to own ALL OF THE SEED through Patents and GMO’s (genetically modified organism).

    For all of those who still believe that Marijuana (= Cannabis Sativa L) was only prohibited because they couldn’t Patent the plant – Your wrong!  You have forgotten about the Corn, Soy Beans, and Wheat as well as all the farm’s and Farmer’s who have been lost to Lawsuits and suicides connected to “who is growing who’s seed in who’s fields throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    The main reason for prohibition is all the legal lies (= Legalization)which openly mandates and sanctions their authority to prohibit in the first place, allowing them to Patent and own all the rights, while controlling the market place, which they now own, or rule, therefore controlling all of the profits while also allowing them to control the nature of the plant.

    Keep in mind, THC is the active part of the plant that causes a plant to be labeled as Marijuana, which is also the natural sunscreen of any Cannabis Sativa L plant.

    HEMP, which starts out as Cannabis Sativa L in the wild, has now been legally defined by the amount of THC it contains (or doesn’t contain).  This seed can now be controlled with a THC stopper gene, via GMO and we can promise that an entire crop growing in any field, no matter how much sunlight it receives, will, for that season, remain HEMP in the field, no matter where the field is, thus, controlling the harvest.   (In nature, the amount of Sunlight a plant receives determines the amount of THC in any given Cannabis Sativa L plant).

    Keep in mind, Cannabis Sativa L., blows in the wind like corn when it pollinates.

    By moving all of the Marijuana grows indoors, these same chemical Companies and Corporations that have prohibited Cannabis/Marijuana in the first place through the lobby of Congress, are the same ones that supply big Pharma, are the same ones that make chemical weapons for war, are the same ones controlling our crops and food supply, and can NOW not only control all the seed, they can sell you chemical fertilizers and growing equipment for medical Cannabis, for just long enough to gain all the information they need to take over the medical use of Cannabis.

    Look at Canada.  Where medical patients have lost all their growing rights, while waiting in lines and waiting for “approval” for medicine that they cannot afford to buy from the Corporate growers!

    First:  Cannabis is already legal, as I have pointed out,

    Second:  Prohibition is the problem,

    Thirdly:  REPEAL is the only legal answer to end prohibition of Cannabis that is morally correct.

    Fourth:  the gateway drug theory is a lie and has been disproven and  has been dispelled by the National Academy of Science over a decade ago in the 1999 report published by the National Academy Press, “Marijuana: Assessing the Science Base“, which stated plainly when examining this question or theory that, if there are any gateway drugs leading to addiction they would be sugar, nicotine and alcohol.  Notice that Marijuana is not at the top of their list of gateway drugs for addiction, and that sugar is not on the Controlled Substance list despite all the disease, illness, and death it causes, not including the addiction.

    There has never been a death caused by Marijuana consumption or overdose unless it was a result of it being prohibited (= being shot by a Cop)…  Please find me ONE, I challenge you!

    Cannabis Sativa L. (= Marijuana Cannabis/Hemp) is a FOOD first.  It has been proven that we are all Endocannabinoid based life forms, and that Endocannabinoids are passed from Mother to Child in the Breast Milk.

    However, this food has been prohibited from our gardens since basically 1937, while disease and illness caused by malnutrition grows out of control.  Yet, the FDA wants YOU to believe that this food is a DRUG.

    Well, so is bottled water, so do you want to see a Doctor for a prescription to buy bottled water?

    I hear that my friend, Senator Perry Clark, has introduced a new bill that will repeal prohibition of Marijuana in Kentucky.  I have not read the Kentucky “Cannabis Freedom ActBill thoroughly yet.  If Sen. Perry Clark has asked to repeal Cannabis prohibition in Kentucky then he deserves our full support!  Our State Representatives need to step up and do what we have paid them to do and additionally introduce KCHHI (Kentucky Cannabis Hemp Health Initiative) as a companion Bill alongside Sen. Perry Clark’s Bill and PROTECT the People of this State!

    Both would REPEAL Cannabis prohibition in Kentucky.

    Wake up!  Educate yourselves on the entire truth of how it all does affect you, no matter who you are or what you think you know or believe.  This is the twenty-first Century, the “Information Age”!

    Sincerely,

    Rev. Mary Thomas-Spears

    Please be advised that Rev. Mary Thomas-Spears hand delivered a written copy of this letter to the office of the Bowling Green Daily News on 1/5/2016.  To date, it has NOT been published on their website.

    SOURCE LINKS:

    http://www.bgdailynews.com/opinion/our_opinion/pot-should-stay-illegal-in-ky/article_fededd94-f296-548c-a9cf-f836e7a78bc9.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1jB7RBGVGk

    http://www.canorml.org/cbd.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Randolph_Hearst

    http://www.hemphasis.net/Paper/paper.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatewood_Galbraith

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-free-man-in-america-gatewood-galbraith/1121786171

    http://ibogaine.mindvox.com/

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/31/sotu.energy/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marihuana_Tax_Act_of_1937

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leary_v._United_States

    http://www.somerset-kentucky.com/opinion/editorials/every-day-is-tax-day-kentucky-s-dope-tax/article_4a216cb6-d3a2-5cd7-8dde-4625f1d70f85.html

    http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/pages/why-does-monsanto-sue-farmers-who-save-seeds.aspx

    https://www.rt.com/news/206787-monsanto-india-farmers-suicides/

    http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-09/scientists-find-thc-gene-hemp

    http://gmo-awareness.com/all-about-gmos/gmo-defined/

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/THC

    http://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/canada-despite-new-rules-cannabis-patients-can-still-grow-home/

    http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/who-funds-un-agenda-21.html

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/05/prohibition-repeal-is-a-good-model-for-marijuana-legalization/

    http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/IOM_Report.pdf

    http://www.ratical.org/renewables/hempseed1.html

    http://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/eCBSystemLee.pdf

    http://search.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/texis/search/?dropXSL=&pr=Prod-static-walk&prox=page&rorder=500&rprox=500&rdfreq=500&rwfreq=500&rlead=500&sufs=2&order=r&rdepth=0&query=marijuana&submit=Search

    http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislator/s037.htm

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2016/01/12/update-16-rs-br-161-has-become-sb-13-kentucky-cannabis-freedom-act/

    http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/16RS/SB13/bill.pdf

    http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/kchhi.html

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009087183261

     

    Big Pharma Shaking in Their Boots as 80% of Cannabis Users Give Up Prescriptions Pills for Pot


     

    15890419-cannabis-leaf-isolated-on-white-background

    By Justin Gardner on January 8, 2016

    A new survey conducted by the Centre for Addictions Research of BC helps explain why Big Pharma is so afraid of cannabis. The pharmaceutical and alcohol industries, both powerful influences in Washington, have long lobbied against cannabis legalization in order to protect their profits.

    However, the tide has turned as decriminalization of medical and recreational cannabis sweeps the nation and the continent. With legalization, more and more people are discovering how this plant can provide a safe alternative to the dangerous effects of prescription pills.

    The survey of 473 adult therapeutic cannabis users found that 87% of respondents gave up prescription medications, alcohol, or other drugs in favor of cannabis. Adults under 40 were likely to give up all three of these for medical cannabis.

    The most startling revelation, and one that will have Big Pharma running to their crony lawmakers, is that 80% of respondents reported substituting cannabis for prescription drugs.

    In addition, 52% said they substituted cannabis for alcohol and 32% said they substituted it for illicit substances. These results indicate a very promising trend of people moving away from dangerously addictive and deadly substances in favor of a miracle plant that has never caused an overdose death.

    “The finding that cannabis was substituted for all three classes of substances suggests that the medical use of cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the context of use of these substances, and may have implications for abstinence-based substance use treatment approaches. Further research should seek to differentiate between biomedical substitution for prescription pharmaceuticals and psychoactive drug substitution, and to elucidate the mechanisms behind both.”

    As The Free Thought Project has reported before, the U.S. is in the midst of a painkiller epidemic, with overdose deaths skyrocketing as Big Pharma has secured its grip on government and mainstream medicine. Opioid painkillers and heroin have driven overdose deaths to the point where they are now the leading cause of fatal injuries in the U.S. Alcohol is also killing Americans at a rate not seen in 35 years.

    The results of this survey confirm that cannabis is the answer to all of these problems.

    Americans for Safe Access has a comprehensive breakdown of conditions that cannabis can treat, and comparisons to prescription pills.

    Chronic Pain

    Arthritis

    Gastrointestinal Disorders

    Movement Disorders

    Multiple Sclerosis

    We are just beginning to confirm the benefits of cannabis on other conditions such as anxiety which is normally treated with pills such as Xanax, insomnia which is normally treated with pills such as Ambien, and antidepressants which are treated with pills such as Zoloft. All of these prescription drugs can cause debilitating addiction or severe side-effects.

    Although the war on drugs put a stop to medical cannabis research for decades, in recent years we have seen a surge in studies being performed, as prohibition crumbles and the Schedule 1 classification of “no medical benefit” is exposed as a farce.

    CONTINUE READING…

    The maker of OxyContin will pay Kentucky $24 million


    OxyContin suit settled for $24 million

    Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2015 12:24 AM

    By ADAM BEAM Associated Press

    FRANKFORT – The maker of OxyContin will pay Kentucky $24 million over the next eight years as part of the settlement of a long-running lawsuit that accused the company of misleading the public about the addictiveness of the powerful prescription drug.

    The state first filed the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma in 2007. The Connecticut-based company has had FDA approval since 1995 to market OxyContin, a type of opioid that can relieve pain and has similar qualities to the illegal drug heroin.

    Kentucky officials accused Purdue Pharma of marketing the prescription painkiller as nonaddictive because it was a pill that, when swallowed, slowly released the drug over 12 hours. However, users soon discovered if they crushed the pill the drug lost its time release qualities and created an instant high.

    State officials said that led to a wave of addiction and increased medical costs across the state, particularly in eastern Kentucky where many injured coal miners were prescribed the drug. Former Attorney General Greg Stumbo, who filed the lawsuit in 2007, said the case could be worth as much as $1 billion if it ever got in front of a jury.

    Purdue Pharma replaced the drug with a new version in 2010 that deters abuse.

    Conway, a Democrat who leaves office next month, said in a news release the case was "still facing significant legal issues." The state Supreme Court was still considering whether Purdue Pharma missed a deadline to dispute the facts of the case. That decision, if awarded in Kentucky’s favor, would greatly help the state wins the case.

    In 2007, Conway said Purdue Pharma offered Kentucky $500,000 to settle the lawsuit. The state refused.

    "Purdue Pharma created havoc in Kentucky, and I am glad it will be held accountable," Conway said in a news release. "Purdue lit a fire of addiction with OxyContin that spread across this state, and Kentucky is still reeling from its effects."

    The agreement says Purdue Pharma will pay Kentucky $12 million followed by another $12 million over the next eight years. The court ordered the state to spend the money on addiction treatment programs

    Purdue Pharma did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.

    CONTINUE READING…