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A Bill to Regulate Rehabs Faces Opposition — From Rehabs

A trade group representing 66 addiction treatment programs in California is opposing a proposed state law that would regulate how all 2,000 programs in the state do business. The law only needs the governor’s signature to be enacted. It would crack down on “patient brokering,” a money-maker practice that some rehabs use to attract clients. Perks to clients range from cross-country flights to food, clothes, cigarettes and even drugs, Mother Jones said, and the perks are so lucrative that good, certified addiction facilities that don’t offer them are run out of business.

While this news item didn’t state whether commercial lobbyists are also involved in protesting this law, it goes without saying that where there is money to be made, lobbyists for any connected industry are always there — especially the drug industry. As I talk about in Part 1 of my “Ghost in the Machine” series, many government agencies and academic institutions and medical centers, along with major TV and print news outlets are all beholden to Big Pharma.

And, sadly, conflicts of interest are not limited to those groups. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been caught with their fingers stuck in industry pies. The plain truth is when it comes to conflicts, anything goes. And, when I hear that just 66 of 2,000 rehabs are protesting what appears to be a good move toward regulating how they do business, I can’t help but see red flags go up all over the place, especially since some of the “perks” they offer to clients are drugs.

One reason these rehab clinics exist in the numbers that they do is because of the opioid epidemic. And one reason the opioid epidemic exists is because of the way this drug was marketed to doctors — many of whom were also paid to prescribe the drugs.

And, since it’s only been a couple weeks since I blogged about Purdue Pharma, which created the opioid OxyContin, trying to cash in on the crisis by competing with itself with its own generic as well as inventing an opioid-based treatment for the addiction, it makes me wonder who’s supplying the free drugs that the rehabs with perks offer — and where they’re getting the money to pay to fight the law now.

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