New York -- Think Pfizer has made some decent money peddling Viagra? Ever thought about about Sudafed? Men with ED may purchase a dozen or so Viagra tablets a month, but "chemists" cooking up a batch of methamphetamine will often buy thousands of Sudafed tablets. And all that profit went to, well, Pfizer stockholders, Washington lobbyists, MD's, researchers, and, oh, a few penny-ante donations to the poor. Not a penny to drug treatment or rehab.
Sudafed is a brand name and registered trademark for a family of over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants based on pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. With enough acid, iodine, ether, and other chemicals it can be cooked into methamphetamine, the current scourge of the United States.
Funny, although the tobacco companies were made to pay for what they did to Americans' health, nobody has even suggested making Pfizer turn over a share of Sudafed profits for drug treatment, and to help pay for societal costs resulting from meth abuse. Like building new prisons.
After five, ten years of "killer profits" from Sudafed, milking the cow about as long as the FDA (and the cow) would tolerate, Pfizer started publicly disclosing plans to make available a new OTC product, Sudafed PE, which does not include pseudoephedrine. Stockholders wept.
Pfizer and its predecessor Warner-Lambert claims it studied at least two alternatives to its current formula in anticipation of pressure from state regulators and the Food and Drug Administration. But intense lobbying, gift giving, and the like kept the cow producing as if it was on a Bovine Growth Hormone IV drip. Bloody udders perhaps, but insane profits that have gone on for years.
Pfizer claims to have spent $12 million trying to develop additives for Sudafed that wopuld make it harder to extract the pseudoephedrine it contains. A drop in the bucket, say some, to the $2B or so per year they've made selling the product, knowing full well it could be cooked into meth. "Hey, spending $12M was a PR move, and it worked" said a flack at a competing drug firm.
According to a researcher at the University of Florida, "Phenylpropanolamine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylephrine are common decongestants. Although all are sympathomimetic amines, their efficacy varies. But you add a few chemicals, and you've got an addicted drug that leaves people addicted and lives pretty well destroyed. Pfizer knew that. And they have the nerve to call themselves a compassionate drug company.
For anyone who's never discovered this simple remedy, doses of 2000-8000 mg of Vitamin C will provide the same decongestant relief associated with talomg over-the-counter decongestants. It's a lot more natural. Taken at the very onset of a cold it may actually help short-circuit the cold. Beware, doses over 5000 mg may cause the runs, the body's way of saying "that's enough!" But Vitamin C works, and it's safe.