The new opium wars

The links between Australia’s poppy industry and opioid addiction crisis
The Monthly (Australia)
February 2017

Are pharmaceutical companies based in advanced economies the right ones to soothe the developing world’s pains? The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a UN-established independent body supervising global access to opioids, often points out that millions of people with end-stage cancer and AIDS in developing countries die in avoidable agony each year. One of its officials, Stefano Berterame, recently told the Los Angeles Times this could be solved with “very cheap morphine” – but that this held little prospect of profit for multinational drug firms. “Companies prefer to market expensive preparations.”