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Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies 

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Old 09-09-2014, 01:42 AM
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Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

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LEADING ANTI-MARIJUANA ACADEMICS ARE PAID BY PAINKILLER DRUG COMPANIES


Dr. Herbert Kleber, an anti-marijuana doctor who has served as a paid consultant to Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. Image via YouTube

As Americans continue to embrace pot—as medicine and for recreational use—opponents are turning to a set of academic researchers to claim that policymakers should avoid relaxing restrictions around marijuana. It's too dangerous, risky, and untested, they say. Just as drug company-funded research has become incredibly controversial in recent years, forcing major medical schools and journals to institute strict disclosure requirements, could there be a conflict of interest issue in the pot debate?

VICE has found that many of the researchers who have advocated against legalizing pot have also been on the payroll of leading pharmaceutical firms with products that could be easily replaced by using marijuana. When these individuals have been quoted in the media, their drug-industry ties have not been revealed.

Take, for example, Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University. Kleber has impeccable academic credentials, and has been quoted in the press and in academic publications warning against the use of marijuana, which he stresses may cause wide-ranging addiction and public health issues. But when he's writing anti-pot opinion pieces for CBS News, or being quoted by NPR and CNBC, what's left unsaid is that Kleber has served as a paid consultant to leading prescription drug companies, including Purdue Pharma (the maker of OxyContin), Reckitt Benckiser (the producer of a painkiller called Nurofen), and Alkermes (the producer of a powerful new opioid called Zohydro).

Kleber, who did not respond to a request for comment, maintains important influence over the pot debate. For instance, his writing has been cited by the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police in its opposition to marijuana legalization, and has been published by the American Psychiatric Association in the organization's statement warning against marijuana for medicinal uses.

Could Kleber's long-term financial relationship with drug firms be viewed as a conflict of interest? Studies have found that pot can be used for pain relief as a substitute for major prescription painkillers. The opioid painkiller industry is a multibillion business that has faced rising criticism from experts because painkillers now cause about 16,000 deaths a year, more than heroin and cocaine combined. Researchers view marijuana as a a safe alternative to opioid products like OxyContin, and there are no known overdose deaths from pot.

Other leading academic opponents of pot have ties to the painkiller industry. Dr. A. Eden Evins, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is a frequent critic of efforts to legalize marijuana. She is on the board of an anti-marijuana advocacy group, Project SAM, and has been quoted by leading media outlets criticizing the wave of new pot-related reforms. "When people can go to a ‘clinic’ or ‘cafe’ and buy pot, that creates the perception that it’s safe,” she told the Times last year.

Notably, when Evins participated in a commentary on marijuana legalization for the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the publication found that her financial relationships required a disclosure statement, which noted that as of November 2012, she was a "consultant for Pfizer and DLA Piper and has received grant/research support from Envivo, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer." Pfizer has moved aggressively into the $7.3 billion painkiller market. In 2011, the company acquired King Pharmaceuticals (the makers of several opioid products) and is currently working to introduce Remoxy, an OxyContin competitor.

Dr. Mark L. Kraus, who runs a private practice and is a board member to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, submitted testimony in 2012 in opposition to a medical marijuana law in Connecticut. According to financial disclosures, Kraus served on the scientific advisory panel for painkiller companies such as Pfizer and Reckitt Benckiser in the year prior to his activism against the medical pot bill. Neither Kraus or Evins responded to a request for comment.

These academic revelations add fodder to the argument that drug firms maintain quiet ties to the marijuana prohibition lobby. In July, I reported for the Nation that many of the largest anti-pot advocacy groups, including the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions for America, which has organized opposition to reform through its network of activists and through handing out advocacy material (sample op-eds against medical pot along with Reefer Madness-style videos, for example), has relied on significant funding from painkiller companies, including Purdue Pharma and Alkermes. Pharmaceutical-funded anti-drug groups like the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and CADCA use their budget to obsess over weed while paying lip-service to the much bigger drug problem in America of over-prescribed opioids.

As ProPublica reported, painkiller-funded researchers helped fuel America's deadly addiction to opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin. These academics, with quiet funding from major pain pill firms, encouraged doctors to over-prescribe these drugs for a range of pain relief issues, leading to where we stand today as the world's biggest consumer of painkillers and the overdose capital of the planet. What does it say about medical academia today that many of that painkiller-funded researchers are now standing in the way of a safer alternative: smoking a joint.

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Old 09-09-2014, 02:50 AM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

Wait till the antidepressant guys get hit.

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Old 09-09-2014, 04:56 AM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

Skunk isn't an elixir, I'm almost certain of that. Nevertheless, isn't it insanely short sighted of these pharmaceutical companies to lobby against weed? Maybe their hands are forced by over-regulation. I dont know. But I'm certain that the wealth of chemical compounds they're sitting on are worth trillions.

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Old 09-09-2014, 10:03 AM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

Usually, the conspiracy nuts that run around with their hair on fire seeing supposed conspiracies at every turn are completely insane and nothing they say can be believed.


But...I have to say that I think there is something to this accusation.

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Old 09-09-2014, 01:24 PM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

goddamn... you mixed two of my favorite things... weed and VICE.

good luck getting state lawmakers to turn their backs on millions of dollars in tax money a month from marijuana. it wont happen.

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Old 09-09-2014, 08:11 PM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

Well, this brings a few things quickly to mind. Firstly, in the past few years I have been saying that all this time we think the government is the cause of problems and abuses it's power. Yet it appears those of us who once believed that, had it wrong.

As this story makes apparent, the REAL enemy is corporations and the special interests groups that OWN our government and finance the rise and fall of our politicians.

Even though I myself still get caught up in bitching about government, the truth is, politicians are no more to blame for the actual problems than the employee at the Mcdonald's drive thru is responsible for policy.

They are just employees! Politicians are employees of corporations who do their bidding and protect them, implement their policies,mergers, etc. That's who they are there for, NOT the people.

Just like how AZ politicians moved the world to get the Apple sapphire factory in AZ. Einstein says nothing can go faster than light. Bullshit! He had never seen AZ governor Jan Brewer and how fast she moves when she has to obey a corporation like apple.

Long story short, apple threatened to not put the plant here if Jan Brewer didn't vote down some legislation that was deemed anti gay. So at a speed faster than you've ever seen a politician move, she voted it down and apple moved in. I couldn't have put up a tent any fucking faster than they worked things out and moved in. Remember that when you go running to a fucking shitty voting booth in november to vote for the best of two crooks, lol.

Secondly, this story is no surprise. The very foundation of the movement to make weed illegal was started by textile corporations medical companies, etc. Because weed is a threat to some medicines as well as textiles with hemp. So, this isn't anything new, it's just a continuation.

In fact, here's a bit of trivia.
Question: Why are the textile industries of America not fighting against hemp this time?

Answer: What fucking American textile industry? They are all overseas, lol!

I've always asked myself why companies like that fight so hard against something. If you can't beat em, join em. Why don't THEY go into the hemp industry or weed growing, etc?

Why don't the oil companies get an early start taking over the solar industry? But no, they have to go on fighting against progress! Gotta hang onto those old records and 8 Tracks. Damn those new fangled iPod things, lol.

Thirdly, don't get too excited about legalization, illegal, reduced crime status, etc. Who gives a shit? It's the same as it's always been with everyone I've ever known. SMOKE EM IF YOU GOT EM!!!

PS, to the drug companies. HEY ASSHOLES! What do you mean weed is untested? It's been tested worldwide by billions of people since the beginning of time. YOU fuckers are the "New Guys" on the block, NOT weed. Dickheads!

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Old 09-09-2014, 09:36 PM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

What problems.

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Old 09-09-2014, 09:45 PM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

Big Pharma will use it's billions to keep it's billions.

Number of people that OD on Painkillers in a given day: dozens.
Number of People that OD on Marijuana in a given eon: zero.

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Old 09-09-2014, 09:56 PM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

Ya but pharmaceutical companies make more than just painkillers. They also make medicines that have saved millions of lives, and keeps millions more able to live.

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Old 09-09-2014, 10:21 PM
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Re: Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid By Painkiller Drug Companies

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Originally Posted by niknik View Post
Ya but pharmaceutical companies control more than just painkillers. They also control medicines that have saved millions of lives, and keeps millions more able to live.



FDA supported

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