Thursday, December 13, 2012

Big Idea for 2013: Legalization of Marijuana. Will It Hurt Pharma?

According The Tennessean (see here), "Health officials believe that too many patients with dementia are being given antipsychotics in an 'off-label' use to control behavior instead of treating their dementia symptoms through non-pharmacologic therapy. Prescribing antipsychotics — approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder among conditions — can expose a patient to medical risks."

I found this story interesting because of (1) recent news about the pharma industry promoting drugs off-label (see here), (2) the quest for an FDA-approved Alzheimer's drug that has so far failed to deliver (see here and here), and (3) a segment I saw on Comedy Central's Daily Show about the "Silver Tour," which demonstrates benefits of medical marijuana to old folks in nursing homes (see below).

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A Daily Finance article titled "Will National Legalized Marijuana Help or Hurt Big Pharma, Tobacco and Alcohol?" reiterated the "Silver Tour" claim that there are many medical conditions "where the ingestion of marijuana has been believed to help alleviate or control the symptoms. These include glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS-related complications, Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy complications and others." You can also add Alzheimer's Disease and depression to that list. Since many of these conditions are common in the elderly, senior citizens may benefit the most from the legalization of marijuana.

Pharma companies, however, are very actively pursuing drugs for the treatment of the most common maladies of senior citizens. This may be why Pfizer, for example, created its "Getting Old" campaign (see here).

"The last thing [pharma] companies want see is current product lines that are producing dependable revenue flow to be dented by legal marijuana," says Lee Jackson, author of the Daily Finance article cited above. "The big pharmaceutical firms have a lot of money to spread around, so when it comes to lobbying efforts, very few have this group's clout. One thing it wants is for marijuana to remain illegal."

Aside from the medical need, another reason why legalizing marijuana makes sense: the "war" against it has failed.

Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group and member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, says about the "war" on drugs, "let’s make 2013 the year we Break The Taboo."

"If a business strategy were failing and instead of curbing a problem made it worse, would you keep it going or would you stop and consider an alternative course? Strangely, the trillion dollar war on drugs has persisted for 40 years even though it is the most dismal global policy failure of our time" (video below).

What's you opinion regarding the legalization of marijuana?


  1. It's time to end this fiasco. Quit playing this stupid game. We are free Americans. Not some children to be coddled and told about 'the boogey man.'

    Anyone in the United States with half a brain sees what a horrible hoax has been carried on since 1937.

    Cut the crap! Quit locking people up for a plant that could possibly save the US economy. Not to mention its medicinal values. We may be on the cusp of huge breakthroughs in the field of medicine ...completely unlike 'big pharma' who have been killing thousands of our citizens per year.

    I have written 2 books concerning the 'evil weed:'

    'Shoulda Robbed a Bank'

    'Welcome to Prison--Enjoy Your Stay'

    They are both available on Amazon ...I spent 5 years in Federal Prison just to acquire the material for, I did not 'volunteer.'

    I would be honored by your reviews,

    Hugh Yonn

  2. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Thanks for pointing out that people with dementia are often given antipsychotics for behavorial control (very cruel treatment), and for posting the very funny "Old Tokes Home".

    Let's legalize marij and stop locking people up. It's reprehensible and stupid to jail someone for smoking a weed that can actually be good for many health problems.


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