Genius Labs

The threat CBD poses for the pharmaceutical industry

CBD Market

Every year, marketing firm Edelman releases a report measuring consumer trust in various institutions. According to their 2018 report, the pharmaceutical industry is the least trusted of the 15 industries Edelman studies.

The report indicates that only 38 percent of the population trust the drug industry. That’s a 13 percent drop from last year’s score and a new low for the industry.

Reports like this regarding the pharmaceutical industry are nothing new. Several drug companies are currently being implicated in the prescription opioid epidemic. Drug prices have risen at alarming rates in recent decades. And the side effects associated with a number of prescription drugs can make them hard to swallow.

For this reason, many are turning to alternative methods for treating their illnesses. Among these alternative treatments is cannabidiol, a chemical component of cannabis that doesn’t exhibit any of the plant’s psychoactive effects. CBD is believed to help alleviate a range of health issues including epilepsy, chronic pain, and anxiety.

Here are three reasons the pharmaceutical industry should feel threatened by CBD.

1. Cost

The pharmaceutical industry is notorious for hiking up the price of live saving medications. The most famous example of this in recent years came in 2015 when American pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli raised the price of an HIV/AIDS medication by 5000% percent.

While Shkreli drew ample attention, the drug, Daraprim, is just one of the many generic drugs that saw price increases over the last decade.

In 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report looking at generic drug prices. According to the report, while the price of generic drugs fell overall between 2010 and 2015, many generic drugs saw exorbitant price increases. The report indicates that the prices of more than 300 generic drugs were increased by more than 100 percent during the time period examined.

Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry has also begun capitalizing on the power of CBD to increase their profits even further. Since the legalization of medical marijuana in dozens of states, pharmaceutical companies are rushing to bring cannabis-derived medications to market.

GW Pharmaceuticals is producing the first CBD-based prescription drug. In 2018, they announced they plan to charge approximately $32,500 per patient annually for a new drug, Epidiolex, that treats rare forms of epilepsy.

However, Epidolex isn’t the only option for families seeking seizure relief. Several studies indicate CBD oil can also be effective in treating epilepsy.

In 2018 the University of Alabama at Birmingham released a study on the effects of CBD. According to the study, the use of CBD can lead to significant improvements in seizure frequency in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy. The research indicates that CBD oil can reduce adverse events and seizure severity.

2. Side Effects

The commercials for prescription drugs have become a running joke. Since advertisement length is often factored into the cost, drug ads often feature a long list of side effects rattled off at record speeds to save time.

Patients taking various prescriptions drugs often complain the side effects from the drugs they’re taking are worse than the symptoms from the illness they are trying to treat.

However, what’s worse is that according to a 2016 report, most companies in the pharmaceutical industry report incomplete side effects for the drugs they manufacture. The analysis was based on a review of reports filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System.

In 2014, 528,192 reports of serious or fatal side effects were reported. Most of these reports (95.3 percent) were filed by pharmaceutical companies. According to the analysis, most of these reports were incomplete. By comparison, 86 percent of the reports filed by doctors and consumers were complete.

Of the reports filled by drug companies, 38 percent did not include basic patient information like age and sex. Forty-seven percent didn’t include the date when the patient experienced the side effect. Perhaps most shockingly, reports involving a patient’s death included the least information.

While the CBD industry is still largely in its infancy, new studies into the substances effects are being released every day. Consumers can turn to these reports for information on the side effects of CBD to put them at ease. However, people should consult their doctor before using CBD.

3. Addiction

big pharma money and drugsThe pharmaceutical industry has come under heavy fire in recent years due to its perceived role in the prescription opioid epidemic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 130 people die everyday from opioid-related drug overdoses. Additionally, an estimated 11.4 million people have misused prescription opioids.

Opioids are frequently prescribed for chronic pain and other pain-related conditions. Today, most people know that opioids are highly addictive, but that wasn’t always the case.

According to the DHS, in the late 1990s opioid pain reliever use became more widespread after pharmaceutical companies downplayed the drugs’ addictive properties. The manufacturers of OxyContin in particular claimed their drug had lower potential for abuse than immediate-release alternatives because of its time-release properties. However, there was no scientific evidence to support this claim.

As of January 2019, the makers of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma are being sued by 36 states. The lawsuits claim the company’s aggressive marketing methods exacerbated OxyContin’s widespread abuse.

Today, many are looking to alternatives for treating chronic pain and others are looking for ways to curb their opioid drug addiction. Cannabidiol has shown positive results in both of these areas. According to the World Health Organization, it presents no significant addictive properties.