Opioid Crisis: 76 Billion Pills Distributed over 7 Years

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Drugmakers and distributors dispensed 76 billion pills to commercial pharmacies over the past seven years, according to an analysis of federal data released Wednesday.

The data, released by an Ohio federal court as part of a case regarding opioids, showed that drug companies distributed 50 percent more opioid drugs between 2006 and 2012 when the nation’s opioid crisis began to accelerate.

A breakdown of the specific drugs being dispensed during that time found that drug manufacturers “distributed 8.4 billion hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to commercial pharmacies in 2006,” the Associated Press reported.

In 2012, 12.6 billion of those same pills were dispensed to pharmacies.

Three generic drug manufacturers accounted for nearly 90 percent of opioid sales, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, which are then shipped to big-name pharmacies.

The current statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 1999 and 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from an opioid drug overdose.

In fact, a Breitbart News analysis of government data found that drug overdoses within the U.S. proved to be more lethal than terrorist attacks worldwide in 2017.

Cleveland-based U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, the judge overseeing the cases, ruled Monday that the data on the opioid crisis could be released to the public.

Several media outlets, including the Washington Post, sued to make the data publicly available.

“The data provides statistical insights that help pinpoint the origins and spread of the opioid epidemic — an epidemic that thousands of communities across the country argue was both sparked and inflamed by opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies,” the statement from attorneys applauding Polster’s decision said.

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