Fans of marijuana in all its forms, medical, recreational, or hemp as a material that makes really strong rope not manufactured by DuPont, will not be happy with statements from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. While a solution is being sought to break the hold that opioids have on the American population, the government is looking to the pharmaceutical companies to find it rather than using a plant that has been part of human pain killing solutions for centuries.
“There really is no such thing as medical marijuana,” Azar said. “There is no FDA-approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that.”
Azar went on to reveal that in addition to refusing to consider cannabis as a treatment, the government plans to pour hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into finding a pharmaceutical alternative for pain medications, now that an alarming number of Americans are dying from opioid-induced overdoses, and local governments are starting to hold Big Pharma accountable for its role in the epidemic.
“We are devoting hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of research at our National Institutes of Health as part of the historic $13 billion opioid and serious mental illness program that the president and Congress are funding,” Azar said. “Over $750 million just in 2019 alone is going to be dedicated towards the National Institutes of Health working in public-private partnership to try and develop the next generation of pain therapies that are not opioids.”
More than $750 million will be dedicated to creating a pharmaceutical alternative for opioids in 2019, all while research studies have shown that the treatment can be provided naturally by a plant that the federal government has spent decades trying to demonize.
Whether or not the demonization is legitimate does not seem to be a part of the argument that the government is making for pharmaceutical intervention even though all empirical evidence suggests that the use of pot as a painkiller reduces opioid deaths by 80%.
What is also interesting, according to D.C. Clothesline, is that the current FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottleib, has strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry, as does Azar.
In the same way that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has ties to pharmaceutical companies that have influenced his decisions while in office, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was formerly the president of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly & Co. from 2012 to 2017.
During his tenure at Eli Lilly, Azar oversaw experiments in which, when looking to extend the exclusive patent on the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, the company used it on young boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. While it did nothing for the patients, it helped the company to increase their bottom line profits, and to ensure that the patent would be extended for another six months.
And this man says pot has no medicinal value.