Big Pharma Presses Australia Gov't to End Poppy Monopoly

To meet a growing demand for painkillers, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and TPI Enterprises of Australia are lobbying the govenrment to expand the opium poppy growing industry's exclusive license beyond the island of Tasmania to mainland Australia.

The growth of opium poppies is regulated by the UN, and for decades, the Australian government has given its exclusive license to Tasmania, creating a monopoly that yields 49% of the world’s supply of opiate-based pain relief.

While opium poppies provide basic pain relief ingredients, such as morphine and codeine, they can also be used for illegal drugs, such as heroin, which is why, as the Tasmania Poppy Association points out, poppy crops were originally kept isolated on Tasmania.

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