In Arizona a pharmaceutical company by the name of Insys was just granted DEA approval for its synthetic marijuana (Syndros). What comes as no surprise is that Insys spent plenty of money to oppose the legalization of cannabis.
Prop 205’s No so Friendly Neighbours
Insys was reported spending up to $500,000 lobbying against marijuana legalization, according to the Washington Post. All this was to oppose Prop 205 in Arizona, a heavily favoured bill by residents.
Insys contributed to roughly 10% of all donations to fight Prop 205. They were also the only pharmaceutical company to lobby against the bills passing.
“It appears they are trying to kill a non-pharmaceutical market for marijuana in order to line their own pockets,” a spokesman for Arizona’s marijuana legalization campaign said of Insys last year.
What’s the Big Deal?
With its approval, Insys has gained medical approval for its synthetic marijuana, Syndros.
Syndros was approved by the FDA to treat vomiting, nausea, and weight loss for HIV and Cancer patients. This approval also put Syndros as a Schedule 2 drug, lower then natural cannabis which is a Schedule 1 drug.
The main difference between a Schedule 1 and 2 drug is Schedule 2 is stated to have medicinal benefits while none in schedule 1. Apparently, a drug in its original form has no medicinal benefits but it’s highly patented and profitable counterpart does.
Pharmaceuticals have long been known to oppose any medicine that will hinder their profits what so ever. With a growing opioid epidemic that is in large part due to the number of opioids being prescribed to patients.
From 2006-2015 it’s reported that Big Pharma spent close to 1 Billion U.S. to protect its opioid business. Acknowledging marijuana can take the place of these extremely harmful substances.
In an odd move the DEA has allocated some of its responsibilities regarding medicinal drugs and what can be done with them to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This shift has been followed with scrutiny as the FDA isn’t fully capable and prepared for this new roll.
The FDA has taken shots at the DEA for it’s archaic and strange scheduling of substances, in a report by ATTN news.
Insys’s Dirty Roots
According to the Washington Post, Insys is under countless state and federal investigations for manipulative marketing. There is a class action lawsuit currently underway for Insys’s for shady advertisement tacts.
The Illinois attorney general is suing Insys for “deceptively marketing and selling an addictive fentanyl-based medication, intended to treat cancer pain, to doctors for off-label uses.”
Last year the FBI arrested former chief executive and other high executives for fraud. They concluded that Insys “paid kickbacks and committed fraud to sell a highly potent and addictive opioid that can lead to abuse and life-threatening respiratory depression.”
Legalization has gained serious momentum and in America, 25 states currently allow medical marijuana. These Big Pharma lobbyists are going to soon find they better start investing in cannabis. Especially if they want to keep their investors happy.