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Ketamine is a drug that is misunderstood. There is very little question among people who have received a dose of the drug for medical purposes that ketamine offers therapeutic relief for people struggling with severe depression and similar mental health issues. However, people classify this beneficial medication as a party or street drug because some people choose to abuse it.
Unlike many popular psychiatric medicines, ketamine begins to work immediately. It does not require days or weeks to accumulate in your bloodstream. However, insurance companies will not cover the drug, and those who use it in therapeutic settings often have to pay thousands of dollars per session. In other words, ketamine has become legally and financially unavailable for the vast majority of Americans. Additionally, because of the legal complications involved with its inclusion on the Controlled Substances schedule, many therapeutic professionals refuse to prescribe or administer ketamine.
Now, in a move that will not surprise those familiar with the corrupt manner in which drug policy changes in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a chemical cousin of ketamine for patient use. The drug esketamine was approved on March 5th, 2019. Interestingly, it has all of the same properties that result in people abusing ketamine, such as the creation of a out-of-body sensation. However, the compound, soon to be marketed under the brand name Spravato, will likely qualify for insurance coverage. Patients will simply have to submit to its administration in a medical setting. Each dose will likley cost more than $500, likely much more, possibly costing $5,000 or more for a single month of treatments.
Unfortunately, they approved this drug via an application from one of the most questionable and unscrupulous health companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson. For those of you who don’t follow health news, Johnson & Johnson is currently under investigation from two different federal agencies because of their intentional lying about the fact that they knew talc provided by mines and included in their products was contaminated with asbestos.
They endangered countless consumers by choosing to use known contaminated mines and asserting that their product was safe when it in fact was not. Internal memos going as far back as the 1970s make it clear that Johnson & Johnson does not have the best interest of its consumers or the general public at heart. Instead, their main and only focus is on generating profit for their owners and shareholders. Why, then, would the FDA hand over the right to produce a potentially groundbreaking drug based on a known, existing medication to such an evil corporation?
The answer is that the FDA is not as interested in the public safety as people would like to think. If this approval were really about connecting people with medications that help them, everything from cannabis to psychedelics would already be legal for therapeutic use in those struggling with chronic depression or suicidal ideation.
The approval of esketamine is just another way for the government to help prop up major corporations, like the foundering Johnson & Johnson Company. It is very likely that esketamine and similar drugs could actually help quite a number of people struggling with serious depression. Ketamine itself has saved people’s lives by alleviating their symptoms. The ease of access and the likelihood of insurance covering esketamine mean that it will likely have an impact on our country, which does not do right by those who struggle with mental health conditions.
It is very hard to celebrate the development and approval of this medication when it will be managed by a company that has a horrible safety track record and a desire to draw profits, regardless of the cost to others.
For previous Ladybud articles that discuss ketamine, click here.