The herb industry is dying, according to some who are calling for regulation and the return of a regulated market.
The industry is struggling to survive the opioid epidemic that is killing Americans, and the growing number of people who can’t afford to pay for medicinal products is driving some of them to sell their products to a growing number who don’t.
“It’s a crisis for the industry, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said David A. Zinc, president of the American Medical Association, a lobby group.
He added that the industry is losing about 10 percent of its members annually.
A report released this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the opioid crisis has had a huge impact on the industry.
It found that more than two-thirds of the $1.1 trillion that the federal government spent on prescription opioid drugs in 2017 was spent on treating chronic pain and other diseases related to the overdose of opioids, according the study by researchers at the Brookings Institution.
The CBO report also found that between 2014 and 2017, more than 3.6 million people died from opioids-related overdoses.
At the same time, the industry has been struggling to maintain its foothold in the American marketplace.
According to a report from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of Americans who are dependent on opioids dropped from 17.3 percent in 2014 to 12.5 percent in 2017.
The number of those who are uninsured dropped from 16.4 percent in 2015 to 12 percent in 2016.
The opioid epidemic is also driving many of the companies that make and sell these medications to the U.S. government to seek tax breaks to keep their products out of the hands of people with limited incomes.
An estimated 20 percent of the U and D.C. residents in a 2016 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundations found that they rely on at least one opioid product for pain management, including a brand named OxyContin, which costs more than $60 a bottle.
And in the past year, some pharmaceutical companies have started to push back against the government’s efforts to rein in the opioid market.
In September, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson pulled back from selling the painkiller Xanax, saying the company’s decision was driven by public health concerns over addiction and abuse.
In the fall, Bayer dropped Xanax from its list of opioids.
In February, AstraZeneca said it would phase out OxyContin and other opioid painkillers in the U, and a similar move by the UnitedHealth Group was expected to happen by the end of 2018.
Still, there is little appetite for the federal regulation that has come with the rise of the opioid problem, experts said.
That leaves many Americans who cannot afford to buy their own drugs, including those who have no insurance, or those who can, but who are unable to get medical treatment, to buy them.
They also are less likely to seek treatment, a sign that they are getting hooked on opioids, said Elizabeth Cohen, an associate professor of health policy and management at Harvard Medical School.
Even those who do get help from a doctor often do not use it, and they often will go on to have other issues.
“It’s not uncommon to have someone go to the ER with a headache, and if they are in pain they go to a doctor who’s not really seeing what’s wrong,” she said.
“It is not surprising that they would go off to a place where they can’t get a painkiller.
That’s not healthy.”
The industry has also been hit hard by a surge in prescriptions for painkillers that are filled through the Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs.
More than 10 million people have gained coverage through these programs in the first six months of this year, according in the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services, the government agency that oversees the health care programs.
That has led some doctors to stop prescribing opioids, even though the data on the health of opioids in the United States is not very clear.
One of the big factors in opioid prescribing is that people who are able to get help through the government programs, or insurance, can find it easier to fill prescriptions.
When doctors stop prescribing, the painkillers become harder to get, and that drives up the prices of the drugs.
For instance, the generic version of Xanax sold on the street costs about $20 a pill, but the brand-name version costs $60, and those costs increase to $400 a pill when you consider the cost of prescription painkillers, said Dr. Matthew J. Deutsch, chief of addiction medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Some of the people who end up using the pain pills end up taking them on the side because it’s cheaper to buy a bottle of pills than to go to an emergency room.
And the people getting these pills can end up dying, Dr. Deitsch said.