New study concludes that current drug approval system will only result in the emergence of worse and more dangerous drugs.
The FDA has been making such a mess of things lately that even the mainstream has started to take notice. But none of the criticism I’ve come across so far has been quite as blunt as a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The lead author of that study, sociologist and professor of comparative health policy Donald Light, concluded that “drug disasters are literally built into the current system of drug testing and approvals in the United States.”
Light and his team analyzed data on adverse drug reactions and the FDA’s current drug approval process. Based on their analysis, they found that one in seven new drugs ends up being superior to drugs that are already on the market (which, based on what you and I both know about the wares Big Pharma is currently peddling isn’t saying much). But two out of every seven new drugs end up causing serious side effects. So, essentially, as Light and his colleagues concluded “new drugs are twice as likely to harm patients as provide them with benefits…”
But the researchers didn’t stop with the FDA: They also took aim at the underhanded practices drug companies employ to get their new drugs on the market. According to the analysis, drug companies design their studies specifically to avoid occurrences of negative side effects: They recruit people who are already relatively healthy and wouldn’t necessarily take the drug to begin with, and then only have the participants take the drug long enough to pinpoint any major side effects. Since approvals are based on this limited-time-frame information, lots of drugs with potentially deadly long-term effects still end up on the market.
Thanks to this ongoing deceit by Big Pharma coupled with the myriad shortcomings of the FDA’s current approval process, all of those “safe and effective” labels slapped on new drugs should really be replaced by ones that read (as Light put it) “‘Apparently safe and effective based on incomplete information, and more effective than a placebo.'”
Light presented his team’s findings last month at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, and offered suggestions for major reforms that could improve the dangerous rut the drugs system is currently stuck in. Whether or not anyone will truly listen to his message is another story entirely…
In the meantime, it’s nice to know that it’s possible to opt out of that system altogether and to stick with the safe, natural remedies that won’t put you at risk for your own personal health disaster.
“Toxic drugs, toxic system: Sociologist predicts drug disasters,” Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com), 8/5/08