Drug companies - page 2 - page 1
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Aggressive marketing, slanting research, unethical publishing of results, influencing physicians, intimidating researchers, pressuring medical centers, manipulating the FDA, limiting information, marketing drugs with inaccurate safety information - all of these have created an environment in which drug development has become a race for the bottom line.
Knowing how the drug companies operate, it is no surprise when new dangers are revealed with drugs we've been using for decades and drugs are subsequently taken off the market.
Dr. Wood added, "None of the drugs was indicated for a life-threatening condition nor, in many cases, were they the only drugs available for that indication".(2) Safer alternatives to these drugs existed, but intense marketing convinced doctors to prescribe them anyway.
Drug companies can profit handsomely from such drugs. 'Seldane', the top-selling antihistamine in the world for more than a decade, was on the market for 13 years until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed it in 1997, 7 years after the drug's cardiac toxicities were identified in 1990 (3).
Rezulin', a diabetes drug withdrawn by Britain in 1997, wasn't withdrawn by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until 2000, during which time Warner-Lambert earned $1.8 billion (4).
10 prescription drugs withdrawn from the market since 1997
These drugs were taken off the market because of serious, often lethal side effects.
Drug companies are a major influence on doctorsí prescribing habits
In addition to the 3 billion dollars they spend on direct marketing to consumers, drug companies are spending about 15 billion dollars per year on marketing to doctors.
Most physicians have no idea that the drug companies are spending on average $10,000 per doctor to influence their behavior. The doctors do not receive a check, of course, but the perks are significant.
Doctors also don't realize that they actually lose that much income and more if they factor in the time that they lose by sitting with the drug company representatives and going to their 'free' lectures and meals. Doctors also often overlook what a fiduciary responsibility is, and therefore dont realize that they need to analyze carefully the costs involved in recommending expensive prescription drugs.
Doctors cause patients to divert much of their hard-earned income to the drug companies, which further perpetuates this indirect physician subsidy. All this results in prescription drugs being the fastest-growing category of health care expenditures in the United States.
Drug companies and the FDA
This goes on all the time, with researchers leaving universities, going to government agencies, and then leaving there for executive positions in business where they cash in on all the contacts theyve made during the earlier years. It isnt even considered unethical.
Misleading ads from drug companies
While drug companies must submit direct-to-consumer advertisements to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agencys review of drug ads is often not completed until after the ad has been widely circulated. What does this mean for consumers? Advertised drugs are not necessarily safe, and drug advertisements should be looked at with discretion.
If the FDA finds a drug ad to be false or misleading, it will issue a regulatory letter to the manufacturer. In the late 1990s, the FDA issued more than 100 such letters per year, but as of November 2002, only 24 had been issued for the year. The decrease, thought to be the result of a new legal review of proposed regulatory letters, has raised concerns that potentially misleading drug advertisements may be gaining public exposure.
According to a Consumer Reports analysis of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory letters from 1997 to 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) charged drug companies with a variety of violations including omitting or minimizing drug risks, exaggerating the effectiveness of a drug, promoting unapproved uses for a drug, making false claims that a drug is superior to another, promoting drugs which are still experimental, using inconsistent or incorrect labeling information, and giving misleading or false information to doctors.
Drug ads which received the most letters citing violations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1997 included:
Anyone who has tried to quit the anti-depressant 'Paxil' will tell you that the TV ads which claim that Paxil is not 'habit-forming' is misleading. Many people who take Paxil experience SEVERE withdrawal symptoms when trying to get off the drug, from tremors to cold sweats to "electric zaps to the brain" (not painful but very uncomfortable). The Paxil withdrawal is SEVERE. What is concerning is that consumers tend to believe that drug ads are regulated. According to one recent study(6), some 43% of participants believed, falsely, that only 'completely safe' drugs could be advertised.
As i said at the beginning of this article, drugs are sometimes appropriate and at times can save a personís life, but most of the time they are unnecessary, expensive and harmful. You would be well advised to recognize that you should seek natural therapies which address the cause of the disease before choosing a drug-based solution.
(1). Wood AJ. The safety of new medicines: the importance of asking the right questions [editorial]. JAMA, 1999 May 12, 281(18):1753?4.
(3). Woosley, R.L., Chen, Y., Freiman, J.P., Gillis, R.A. Mechanism of the Cardiotoxic Actions of Terfenadine. JAMA, 1993; 269(12), 1532-6.
(4). Moore, TJ, Psaty, BM, Furberg, CD, op. cit.
(5). Cauchon, D. FDA Advisors Tied to Industry: Approval Process Riddled with Conflicts of Interest. USA TODAY, Sept. 25, 2000.
(6) Consumer Reports February 2003 68:(2)33-37
© 2002 Healing Daily