This Chart Shows Exactly Why Pharma Is Fighting Medical Marijuana

Photo by katherine_hitt

Pharmaceutical companies are notorious for fighting alternative healing methods. Heck, pharma is actually in tandem with Big Tobacco to stop vaping (just think about that for a moment). Pharma will do whatever it can to protect its interest in medicating people as a treatment, rather than a cure. Often, pharma’s “treatments” are synonymous with unaffordable.

One issue which pharma has kept it’s eyes on is the growth of medical marijuana (pun intended). Medical marijuana has been legalized in many states. Many consumers of the plant claim it relieves pain, among many other things. Pharma, in case you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, makes a killing on pain killers (pun once again and unfortunately, intended). A new study shows that states which have legalized medical marijuana have also reduced their painkiller usage. This means, of course, a lesser share for pharma.

Legalization of medical marijuana has been one of the most controversial areas of state policy change over the past twenty years. However, little is known about whether medical marijuana is being used clinically to any significant degree. Using data on all prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013, we found that the use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative fell significantly, once a medical marijuana law was implemented. National overall reductions in Medicare program and enrollee spending when states implemented medical marijuana laws were estimated to be $165.2 million per year in 2013. The availability of medical marijuana has a significant effect on prescribing patterns and spending in Medicare Part D.


It was found that in  17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescription painkiller use was way lower when compared to states without such laws. And it isn’t just the painkiller sector that’s suffering. Check out the below chart.


That’s a healthy serving of financial gloom for pharmaceutical interest. When you really consider things logically, what grounds would pharma have to oppose medical marijuana if it weren’t for protecting their interest? And if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense that nothing they do is driven by helping people? The dots are easily connected.

Photo by katherine_hitt