April 3, 2017

"Big Pharma's anti-marijuana stance aims to squash the competition, activists say."

"Pharmaceutical company Insys spent $500,000 to block legalization in Arizona. Five months later it won approval for a cannabis-derived medical drug."
“I really don’t have a lot of hope for the small guy in this country,” said Dr Gina Berman, medical director of the Giving Tree Wellness Center, a cannabis dispensary in Phoenix, Arizona. “Pharmaceuticals are going to run me down. We have a small business, and we can’t afford to fight Big Pharma.”...

“We’ve got these pharmaceutical companies that are using their lobbying power to bring something to market that people can grow in their home,” said JP Holyoak, a marijuana dispensary owner and cultivator in Arizona, who chaired the state’s legalization campaign last year. “They recognize that the horse has left the barn regarding marijuana. They can’t beat it, so now they’re trying to just take it over.”

42 comments:

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Half a million dollars is nothing.

Roughcoat said...

I prefer to call it "Big Reefer."

traditionalguy said...

Jerry Jones must be a Big Reefer shareholder. He wants the NFL to legalize dope.

rehajm said...

So Goldilocks mom and pop(ish) approves of less central planning that allows it to exist and disapproves of less central planning that allows it to cease to exist.

J. Farmer said...

It has been well known for years that the biggest organized opposition to marijuana legalization came from the pharmaceutical industry, the beer and liquor industry, and the police and prison guard unions. But of course, it's foolish to act as if it's the "little guy" versus the big bad corporate bogeyman. Marijuana legalization efforts are often quite well organized and well funded. John Morgan, a local Tampa personal injury lawyer, personally contributed more than $2 million of his own money towards marijuana legalization in Florida.

TreeJoe said...

I'm a big believer in less government here and the ability in self choice.

But let's not confuse going to your local pot shop and asking which joint you should smoke and how much to alleviate a specific symptom with medical advice.

Pharma seeks to take cannabis compounds, synthesize them to high purity, dose them specifically, identify what doses are effective at treating something with specific acceptable side effects, and prove it using very careful research so specific medical claims can be made while avoiding side effects.

You can get acetylsalicylic acid from chewing willow leaves. That doesn't mean they replace precisely dosed Aspirin.

Paddy O said...

Big-meat: bringing animal products to market that people can raise in their backyards.

Big-produce: bringing grain, fruit, and produce to market that people can grow in their homes.

Big-fashion: bringing clothes to market that people can sew in their own homes.

Such is the way of things.

And in the case of this thing it's even better. The only reason that I'm open to marijuana legalization is to encourage pharmaceutical and big corporation production. Not because of the home grower, necessarily, but because of the national forest growers who make it dangerous to hike in a lot of places and destroy the environment.

steve uhr said...

Big tobacco is eyeing the marijuana market. Should be an epic battle.

David said...

So they get it legal and now they want government protection for mom and pop pot. Welcome to capitalism.

Michael K said...

There is a big demand for things that make you stupid.

The Democrats seem to be the greatest market.

Ann Althouse said...

"There is a big demand for things that make you stupid."

That reminds me... and since apathy was already a theme this morning: I believe that what marijuana produces is apathy.

Apathy is a kind of relief from pain. Isn't that how nitrous oxide at the dentist works and why you want novocaine AND nitrous?

Nonapod said...

Pot heads are such goofy conspiracy theorists. 500k is peanuts. There's plenty of well-moneyed groups on both sides of this issue.

But it's clear the wind in blowing toward an eventual full legalization at the federal level at some point (even with geezers like Jeff Sessions making all sorts of Puritanical noises), it's just a question of what the industry looks like from state to state. Will it be regulated to remain an industry with a producers who are all small-time growers and distribution model of a bunch of small "Mom & Pop" dispensaries, or will it be allowed to get Big?

Robert Cook said...

Yep! The "free market" always delivers the bestest outcomes!

Of course, you've got to have the money and influence to make sure the "free market" works for you and hinders or eliminates your competition! (Or, if your competition is equally as flush with money and influence as you, you collude with them to fix prices and otherwise ensure everybody (among the big boys) is well-served, and the little guys are crushed.)

Bay Area Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Gleeson said...

I am a little surprised that the headline did not divert you into a side discussion about the use of 'squash' instead of the more accurate 'quash' (the way you will sometimes discuss the use of 'flounder' instead of 'founder,' or 'podium' instead of 'that thing on the podium').

Bay Area Guy said...

I've met very few people who are completely conservative on every single position or completely liberal, for that matter.

Big Pharma and its practices are one of those areas where I swerve hard Left, sorry.

My brother-in-law doctor made me promise to get a colonoscopy at age 50, but to do so, he candidly admitted that about "75% of what we (doctors) do is bullshit."

I'm wondering if our resident doctor here, Michael K, feels the same way.

My uninformed, inexpert view, is that Emergency Room medicine and half of Surgery is excellent, but most remaining aspects of health care are not so hot.

I saw a Big Pharma ad on TV for some drug to treat "Restless Leg Syndrome." Restless legs? WTF? We used to say, "our leg fell asleep". Then, you kick it a bit, restart circulation, and voila, all better. No need for prescription drugs.

But, I'm not a complete troglodyte when it comes to medicine, and I know we have fine doctors and nurses out there, and some valuable medicines, too (anti-biotics, pain meds). But I think Big Pharma has gotten way too big for its britches, so I would be for the small local pothead grower, rather than Johnson & Johnson selling their toxic weed.

I could be totally, and hopelessly wrong about all of this.

Sebastian said...

"I believe that what marijuana produces is apathy." Interesting hypothesis. Let's test it. Like we test all other hypotheses pertaining to "medical" pot. Oh, wait . . .

For seekers of apathy, pot promoters sure seem to be an energetic bunch. Call it the pot paradox.

steve uhr said...

Robert Cook -- The free market may not always deliver the best outcome but it is by far better than the alternatives when it comes to delivering quality goods and services at low cost. If elected officials decide to give someone a monopoly position, the electorate paying the resulting higher prices for inferior goods may not appreciate it and are likely to vote you out next election. And of course price fixing is a crime and if you're caught you go to prison. What is your alternative?

traditionalguy said...

The Medical guys do what they can. But few will admit they have no knowledge of the cause of nor any real knowledge of the treatment for most auto-immune diseases. But the Rx that works on symptoms is still going to be prescribed, even if it hardly works at all.

MS treatment for example, has as its best goal simply the giving of hope and a good night's sleep with an RX.

Brando said...

It'd be nice to have a true de-regulation government in power, and not just a "let's dicker over which entrenched industry to protect". There's a difference between pro-business and pro-free market.

Legalize the pots! And de-regulate pharma while you're at it. If you have so much time you have to meddle in people's lives, go pick on comic books or something.

Michael K said...

"I saw a Big Pharma ad on TV for some drug to treat "Restless Leg Syndrome."

That used to be the bane of my existence. Not really but it is common in older people. We used to prescribe a combo of aminophyllin and quinine called "Quinamm" but it has gone off the market. It's pretty common and very annoying although I have no personal experience with it.

A lot of what doctors do is responding to what we call "the worried well." Some things, like cancer and pneumonia, are real things and can kill you. One of the big issues that the Dartmouth group studied was the variation in treatment. Jack Wennberg got started studying variation. He found that tonsillectomy in Vermont varied a great deal from town to town. Some towns had 75% of the kids having their tonsils out while other towns only had 20% of the kids having the surgery. He then looked at the results. How many kids got sick and had to be treated for ear infections, for example. Ear infections are the result of changes that tonsillectomy is supposed to prevent.

He found that there was no difference in complications between kids who had tonsils out and those who still had theirs.

He and the Dartmouth folks have published many papers on this phenomenon. If variation in treatment is high, that means there is no well established way to treat the condition. If there is very little variation, like with broken hips for example, the treatment is very effective. Everybody agrees on what to do.

It's a long story but it resulted in The Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare. That was written when I was there and has been updated since,

For more than 20 years, the Dartmouth Atlas Project has documented glaring variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States.

Michael K said...

"most auto-immune diseases. But the Rx that works on symptoms is still going to be prescribed, even if it hardly works at all."

There are great treatments for some, like rheumatoid arthritis. They are biologicals and expensive but very effective.

My wife can't use them because she has COPD and RA. All the biologicals suppress the immune system and then she gets pneumonia.

It's a bitch so she puts up with the RA.

MS may yield in the next few years.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Pharma seeks to take cannabis compounds, synthesize them to high purity, dose them specifically, identify what doses are effective at treating something with specific acceptable side effects, and prove it using very careful research so specific medical claims can be made while avoiding side effects."

Pharma seeks money and power, that's all.

If they need to bullshit you, or lie and murder your neighbor, hey, it's all in the game.

OxyContin kills, lawyers get rich, Pharma rolls on.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I had a doctor tell me the gout has been cured, ultra cheap, by stuff in use for 75 years proving it essentially harmless, but since Pharma saw pain being relieved without their big grubby hands taking money and demanding thank you's they had the drug removed from circulation so they could do a decades worth of bullshit, pocket-lining tests and then charge up the ass for it.

The dairy industry should have prevented that, as I and others would be drinking milk still to this very day if a cheap pill prevented gout flare ups. But no, no milk for this WI boy. Arnold was right it appears all those many years ago: milk is for children, real men (with gout) drink beer.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"There is a big demand for things that make you stupid.

The Democrats seem to be the greatest market."

Good Lord, yes. I'm agnostic on marijuana legalization, but I've never seen such a tidal wave of blind determined idiocy in the personal and the political in my life. Ironic that so many of the times and places we consider backwards also look like exemplars of rational living and civic virtue.

Birches said...

Pharma seeks to take cannabis compounds, synthesize them to high purity, dose them specifically, identify what doses are effective at treating something with specific acceptable side effects, and prove it using very careful research so specific medical claims can be made while avoiding side effects.

My friend the doctor said basically this when asked about pot legalization for medical reasons. Why would he recommend something when the variations in strength and preparation and side effects is so common. He recognized that some seizure patients get real relief from pot, but he can't be held liable for recommending it? What happens if someone trips out?

Guildofcannonballs said...

Indica aka "in da couch" produces apathy I guess, maybe, aw Hell I don't know figure it out your own self, while sativa dominant strains are said to promote creativity, not apathy as coommonly understood. In fact, for many it is claimed the sativas are a source of inspiration, even if pulling a Feynman and fooling themselves which is likely, apathy still doesn't apply.

Consider whether drinkers would claim "whiskey/tequila make me fight" verses "champagne makes me feel silly and goofy and like Corin on The Bachelor" and how you might seek to identify ways to attribute credulity or not to them compared to differing weed strains.

NFL players, that heavily-in-pain group, would I should like to think prefer indica strains best. My friend told me years ago an agent to big names guessed 70% of players smoked, all of them as soon as they passed a random UA because they could only be tested once a year. Guys tested early in the season, when heavy pain begins in earnest, had their own Super Bowls of sticky weed at Lambowl Field with the Green Bowl Packers.

Michael K said...

I do think MJ helps with nausea and pain from chemo.

The smoked form is better because nausea.

My suspicion is that 90% of pot is recreational.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook -- The free market may not always deliver the best outcome but it is by far better than the alternatives when it comes to delivering quality goods and services at low cost. If elected officials decide to give someone a monopoly position, the electorate paying the resulting higher prices for inferior goods may not appreciate it and are likely to vote you out next election. And of course price fixing is a crime and if you're caught you go to prison. What is your alternative?"

Strict regulation of the market and of corporate practices to protect smaller business and consumers from corporate predatory practices and dishonesty. When corporations and capitalists extol the wonders of the free market, they're talking about a market free of any regulations at all, which would allow them to act as they please, (e.g., forming monopolies, squeezing out smaller, weaker competitors, fixing prices, etc.).

Bay Area Guy said...

Thanks for your insights, Doc Michael K.

Myself, I'm the opposite of a hypochondriac -- I figure most medical problems solve themselves over time. I read a JAMA paper by Dr. Barbara Starfield, a well-regarded MD/PhD at Johns Hopkins, that argued that modern medicine kills 220,000/year.

That paper scared me away from doctors!

Robert Cook said...

"My suspicion is that 90% of pot is recreational."

Still can't beat liquor, of which 100% is recreational use.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

My suspicion is that 90% of pot is recreational.

I think you're probably right, if not underestimating. The fact that marijuana legalization has to be snuck in through the BS medical backdoor is probably just a result of the puritanical strain in American culture. Puritanism is, after all, as Mencken famously remarked, "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

exiledonmainstreet said...

Blogger steve uhr said...
Big tobacco is eyeing the marijuana market. Should be an epic battle.


Instead of the Marlboro Man, will we get Spiff Dude? Instead of a cowboy hat, the necessary accessory will be a bag of Doritos.

Rick said...

Robert Cook said...
When corporations and capitalists extol the wonders of the free market, they're talking about a market free of any regulations at all, which would allow them to act as they please, (e.g., forming monopolies, squeezing out smaller, weaker competitors, fixing prices, etc.).


Other people don't state their own positions, by god they believe what Robert Cook tells them they believe. Cook's strawmen demonstrate his innate dishonesty, amusingly for someone who defends his own positions with absurd levels of No True Scotsmanism.

Birkel said...

@ Robert Cook
Is there another type of socialist that isn't as stupid as you that you could ask to comment here so we don't have to read your uninformed drivel?

@ Leviathan
How about we decrease the size and scope of the federal government? Let's do that. Legalization is a step in the right direction.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Still can't beat liquor, of which 100% is recreational use"

I somewhat disagree. Know one person who drinks maybe a six pack or so of beer, and a bit of vodka, because the yeast in the beer helps with their vomiting, and the alcohol helps relax their back. Pot worked somewhat, but is out of the question thanks to periodic drug testing by their pain doc. Sure, their prescription pain meds and muscle relaxants should obviate this, but doesn't, for a number of reasons including a fear of addiction and the DEA being so tight on that type of pain meds. A lot of pain docs these days will fire you so fast your head will spin if you are caught doing any illegal drugs (such as pot), or, indeed, pain meds prescribed by other health care professionals (for example, anything done in the office or hospital is usually fine, but you had better not fill even something like Percocet from your dentist).

Also, alcohol is routinely used to self-medicate some mental conditions like being bipolar.

Hunter said...

@Robert Cook
When corporations and capitalists extol the wonders of the free market, they're talking about a market free of any regulations at all

The standard strawman argument against free-market advocates. Almost no one is for no regulations. But only regulations that serve the interest of a competitive market that doesn't allow for fraud or abuse.

Most of the things you list: "(e.g., forming monopolies, squeezing out smaller, weaker competitors, fixing prices, etc.)"
are typically achieved by lobbying government for regulations that help some companies while hurting others; or which hurt everyone, but are bearable for large companies and unbearable for small ones.

Michael K said...

"Myself, I'm the opposite of a hypochondriac -- I figure most medical problems solve themselves over time."

My first day of medical school, a long time ago, the Dean said in his welcome speech that "90% of your patients will get well without you. Your job is to help the 10% who won't."

And I might add, figure out who that 10% is.

We also used to have a saying that applied to ICU patients. "Don't just do something, stand there."

Another one was, "In a last desperate effort to save the patient's life, I pulled out all the tubes and fed him."

Robert Cook said...

My mother lived to 80 and a half, (felled by pancreatic cancer six months after her diagnosis in the month of her 80th birthday). She told me doctors and nurses were always amazed that she was not on a battery of medicines, as, apparently, most people above a certain age are. (She did take Synthroid daily for a thyroid condition she had had for most of her life, but otherwise she was on no medications at all.)

She was a firm believer in letting one's own immune system do the work, unless more drastic intervention was required.

She went to school at 45 to become a nurse and worked actively as a nurse until she retired at 73, (only to care for my father, who had lost parts of each of his lower limbs due to diabetes). She worked in various areas of hospitals, including ICU, and then worked in emergency rooms for the last years of her working life. She never got over her skepticism of doctors and of medicine. She warned us to avoid hospitals at all costs unless the alternative was more dangerous, given all she had seen go on in hospitals over the years.

Neither I nor my brothers have ever been takers of medicine.

cathy said...

My brother got restless leg syndrome after a stroke. The prescription barely helped and had funky side effects. Pot worked and he liked the side effects. So we hope he is happy with pot and cuts back on his drinking.

ceowens said...

"Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or
decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside"

The above is line "e" on the 4473. If you go to an FFL to purchase a firearm and answer this question in the affirmative you are SOL regardless.

n.n said...

Marijuana therapy fills the segment halfway between natural and toxic, passive and aggressive. However, in light of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming caused by burning organic fuels, I wonder if people are concerned about free carbon and cancer.