The NYT had an interesting article on how the pharmaceutical company Alkermes had successfully promoted its drug Vivitrol as a treatment for opioid addiction, even though there is little evidence the drug is more effective than older and cheaper alternatives. This effort has involved a massive marketing campaign that has included campaign contributions to politicians in a position to influence the choice of drugs, as well as the lobbying of judges in a position to determine the course of a treatment program.

The piece neglected to mention the fact that Alkermes would have little incentive to engage in such practices if it did not have a government-granted patent monopoly on Vivitrol. If the drug were selling at generic prices, it would not pay for expensive, and possibly corrupt, lobbying efforts.