Editorial roundup

• The (Findlay) Courier, June 3

When it comes to finding fault for the opiate drug epidemic, there’s plenty of blame to spread around.

While those who are prescribed pain medications have an obligation to understand the risks and the addictive nature of the pills they take, more urgent warnings should be provided by doctors and even more so by drugmakers.

The latter group was added to the discussion this week when Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued five drug manufacturers for flooding the state with addictive painkillers and putting “profits above the health and well-being of Ohio consumers.”

Many Ohioans who have turned to heroin, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in recent years first became addicted to prescribed painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin or Percocet.

DeWine alleged in his suit that manufacturers spent millions of dollars aggressively marketing their addictive products to doctors and then would “deny and trivialize” the impact of addictive opioids on patients.

Because of the manufacturers’ deceptive practices, DeWine says, the companies “helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social and deadly consequences in the state of Ohio.”

The suit seeks a court injunction to stop the manufacturers, which he also accused of Medicaid fraud and violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act. It seeks damages on behalf of the state and repayment to consumers.

Ohio has already done much to close “pill mills” and to control and monitor the number of prescription opioids that doctors dispense. But drugmakers should shoulder some of the responsibility, too. …

DeWine’s action may not lead to the kind of financial settlement reached after tobacco companies were sued by states in the 1990s. But it should at least result in improved consumer education of opioid dangers. Bold warning labels, like those now attached to cigarette packs, should appear on bottles of prescribed painkillers.

Here’s one we would recommend: This medication is addictive and can lead to death.

Online: http://bit.ly/2qZ6tNi


Akron Beacon Journal, June 4

Business leaders tried. So did European allies, key Cabinet officials and members of the White House staff. In the end, President Donald Trump chose to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. The decision won’t halt the push for clean energy. Other countries will continue to curb their greenhouse emissions.

The president has made the larger task exceedingly more difficult. He has diminished American leadership and influence. Contrary to his contention, the decision to exit puts the country at a competitive disadvantage.

The Paris Agreement represents a modest step in actual reductions of greenhouse emissions. The achievement comes in the framework, the culmination of two decades of work, finding a global way forward in addressing the mounting threat of climate change.

… Here is where American leadership makes a difference, setting an example, applying pressure and pursuing an advantage in innovation. …

… The failure of leadership extends to how the president justified his stance. He contends that Americans have been treated unfairly. For instance, he asserts that China “will be allowed” to build “hundreds of additional coal plants.” This just isn’t true. The agreement, again, is voluntary. Nothing is permitted or not, each country defining its approach.

China has announced the cancellation of plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants.

The president warns that the agreement would trigger a “massive redistribution” of American wealth to other countries. He is alluding, in part, to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, a tool for wealthier nations to aid developing countries in responding to climate change. The United States has contributed $1 billion of the $3 billion it has pledged. Forty-three countries have made pledges, including some developing countries. Sweden has put up nearly $600 million.

The fund reflects the greater role of developed countries in generating greenhouse gases. In 2015, the United States produced per-capita more than double the carbon dioxide emissions of China and eight times more than India.

Then, consider the United States ranks 11th in its per-capita contribution to the Green Climate Fund.

Most striking was the president’s neglect of the benefits in addressing climate change or the heavy costs of a warming planet. The Paris Agreement reflects a global recognition of both. One key question is: If it now begins to unravel, how much time will be lost before there is replacement?

Online: http://bit.ly/2rXEHFY