Aug 28, 2019

Opioid manufacturers have a new market: India

As opioid manufacturers sort through their share of lawsuits in the U.S., those companies are fueling the rise of India's painkiller market, the Guardian reports with Kaiser Health News.

The big picture: Indians have in the past viewed pain as something to be suffered through, but that mindset is changing, and the result is eerily similar to the early stages of what Americans now consider a crisis.

  • The spread of pain clinics across the country has also been aided by the relaxation of India's narcotics laws.

The very same drug companies being sued by communities ravaged by the opioid epidemic are selling opioid products in India.

  • A subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which was found responsible for Oklahoma's opioid problem earlier this week, is selling a fentanyl patch.
  • The Sackler family also controls a network of companies selling buprenorphine.

The other side: Pain relief is no doubt a good thing for Indians who previously suffered from excruciating cancer pain or died horribly painful deaths, an argument made by palliative care advocates to government officials who permitted the sale of opioids.

  • But as the U.S. has proven, there is a very fine line between compassionate health care and opioid overuse and abuse.
  • "Are people going to figure out every trick in the game to make [opioid painkillers] widely available?" Bobby John, a leading Indian public health expert, asked the Guardian. "Of course it will happen."

Go deeper: The first big opioids verdict is both big and small

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.