(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) — The FDA is once again at war with kratom, putting thousands of lives at risk because of the corporate-driven politicization of a demonstrably safe compound that helps millions of people manage chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. On Feb. 21, the FDA put out another ominous news release calling for a halt on the sale of kratom products.
“To protect the public health, we’ll continue to affirm the risks associated with kratom, warn consumers against its use and take aggressive enforcement action against kratom-containing products,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
Two weeks earlier, the FDA released a statement making the maliciously inaccurate claim that 44 deaths can be attributed to the use of kratom. But as Anti-Media has reported for months, these claims are apocryphal at best and downright lies at worst.
Journalist Ben Swann recently released a video showing evidence that nine of the people in the report had consumed kratom laced with a powerful painkiller called tramadol. Another one of the deaths was a 43-year old man with deep vein thrombosis who had a mixture of five other medications in his blood. Another man had fallen from a roof and had nine substances in his system. Also originally included in the report was a man who had died of a gunshot wound to the chest.
The newest FDA propaganda also claims kratom should be labeled an opioid because, as they claim, there is evidence that “compounds contained in kratom are opioids.”
Many believe the FDA is using a recent outbreak of salmonella, which was linked to a batch of kratom and infected 28 people, to further taint the reputation of the alternative medication.
The American Kratom Association asked:
“Why should American kratom vendors voluntarily recall and ‘destroy’ all kratom supplements as the FDA suggests because of this fractional number of cases involving potential salmonella contamination?”
After all, there are 1.3 million cases of salmonella each year, meaning the kratom outbreak represents less than 0.00002 percent of these cases. Yet the FDA is singling out kratom for an across-the-board ban.
AKA Chairman of the Board, Dave Herman, responded to the FDA with a statement:
“Once again, the Food & Drug Administration is going against sound science in its war against kratom.
The AKA has called for “appropriate product regulation to ensure safety and purity standards for kratom-based supplement.”
As most know, the real story here is corporate profits and the power of Big Pharma lobbyists over Washington. For his segment entitled “FDA’s Disinformation Campaign on Kratom,” Ben Swann produced a video entitled “The Revolving Door Between the FDA and Big Pharma.”
In this video, he discusses the cross-pollination that occurs between federal employees who work at the FDA and other agencies and powerful corporate interests in the private sector that can offer these employees massive financial benefits on the backend if they help push a corporate agenda.
This hybridization of Wall Street and government is the same reason the Clintons left the White House nearly broke and quickly garnered $100 million from corporate donors; it’s the same reason former general and CIA Director David Petraeus was funneled into the lucrative KKR private equity firm despite having literally no background in finance; it’s the same reason former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell was named Senior Counselor at Beacon Global Strategies.
This is literally a life or death struggle for those who depend on kratom for safe relief from pain and psychiatric symptoms. Yet for the corrupt corporatocracy running our democracy, it’s purely about money and power.
We have discussed the symbiotic relationship between the government and corporations, but let’s look a little more specifically at the details of the supply and demand logistics of the ‘pain industry’ in the United States to see a clear pattern.
Prior to being the Commissioner of the FDA, Gottlieb served as a resident fellow for a neoconservative think tank called the American Enterprise Institute, which is comprised of such powerful figures as former Vice President Dick Cheney. Big Pharma power brokers like the former CEO of Merck & Co., Raymond Gilmartin have also been members of the organization. American Enterprise, along with multiple other neocon think tanks like the Project for A New American Century, has strongly supported the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, which is now the main producer of poppies, which yield opium.
Before Gottlieb worked with Cheney, he was an independent director at Tolero Pharmaceuticals and Daiichi Sankyo Inc. and a member of GlaxoSmithKline’s product investment board. During this time, the company violated the False Claims Act and had to pay $39 million for a hatching a scheme to pay physicians ‘kickbacks’ to promote their drugs to patients.
If such information is too conspiratorial or anecdotal to prove high-level Big Pharma collusion, perhaps it will interest you to know that pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, have been filing patents on kratom alkaloids since the 1960s. These patents represent an ongoing attempt by Big Pharma to make synthetic opioids from kratom alkaloids — including Speciofoline, MGM-9, MGM-15, and MGM-16 — from kratom’s other primary alkaloids, 7-Hydroxymitragynine and Mitragynine. In the patent applications for these synthetics, it states their potential use in safely treating pain.
So the assertion by government agencies, including the FDA and the DEA, that there has been no research suggesting the safe therapeutic use of kratom, is a lie. Further, it is abundantly clear that the reason the government wants to ban kratom is that it is a safe alternative to massively over-prescribed opioids like fentanyl, Percocet, Oxycontin, and others and thus threatens the multi-billion dollar a year opioid painkiller industry. Since kratom can be easily grown, Big Pharma can’t monopolize it and must try to legally suppress it, even if that means subjecting millions of people to overdosing on doctor-prescribed pain pills.
Our country is right in the middle of a massive opioid epidemic that claims 19,000 lives a year. But instead of tackling prescription opiates, the feds are attacking one of the only safe substitutes. Just like with the war on drugs and the criminalization of cannabis, the government is more interested in peddling propaganda and protecting the profits of the private sector than in doing what’s right for the people. This absurdity would be called moronic if it weren’t by design. But it is, so it must be called sinister.
Join the fight by signing this petition which will be sent to President Trump demanding that he stop the criminalization of kratom.