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Under Pressure, FDA Reveals Deadly Drug Side Effects

October 11, 2007 | 48,446 views

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) described the risks of several medications in a new report published in its Drug Safety Newsletter for health care professionals.

The move came after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) sharply criticized the FDA in 2006, saying it has “a dysfunctional structure hindering its ability to protect public health.” The Agency has also been criticized for not monitoring drugs after they’re on the market.

The report, which fills one of the FDA’s commitments to the IOM after the criticism, details the side effects from the following drugs:

  • Rituxan, a cancer drug that has been liked to a potentially fatal central nervous system disorder.

  • Provigil, a narcolepsy drug that has been linked to serious skin reactions.

  • Temodar, a brain cancer medicine that has been linked to fatal aplastic anemia.

  • Exjade, a blood infusion drug. Reports of kidney failure, 115 deaths, and hospitalizations are suspected to be linked to the drug, although the deaths are now listed as “due to the underlying disease.”
Consumer group Public Citizen said the FDA’s quarterly Drug Safety newsletter could be “a real service” if it focuses on emerging drug side effects .

U.S. FDA Drug Safety Newsletter Fall 2007, Volume 1, Number 1 

Reuters September 18, 2007


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Last year, the Institute of Medicine released a scathing report against the FDA, pointing out serious problems in the federal system for approving and regulating drugs -- and stating that dramatic changes would be required to fix them. (For details on the major problems in the FDA, check out the video I did on this topic.) 

Now the FDA has thrown a bone to the powers-that-be, that, in my opinion, will do little to change the major corruptions going on.

The FDA’s Drug Safety Newsletter, though it does reveal some (quite serious) drug side effects, is far too little and far too late. It is also banking on the fact that health care professionals, to which the newsletter is geared, will actually read the potential side effects and weigh the risks before prescribing the drugs to any more patients.

Of course, no one knows whether this will happen.

But there is an even bigger issue at play here, and that is the misguided intent to trust the FDA’s opinion about drug safety in the first place.

Folks, the primary purpose of the FDA is to get drugs approved, plain and simple.

This is why 80 percent of their resources are geared toward the approval of new drugs, and 20 percent is left to cover everything else, including drug safety (which gets a measly 5 percent of the FDA’s overall budget).

The drug companies, of course, are paying lobbyists large sums of money for this privilege. They own the largest political lobbying force in the United States and by investing hundreds of millions of dollars they can receive billions of dollars in return. The problem is that someone pays for this and that would be the U.S. taxpayer.

When the Prescription Drug User Fee Act came into play in 1992, the drug companies actually started to fund the FDA. In short, with this Act the drug companies began paying money to the FDA so it would review and approve their drugs.

Talk about conflict of interest!

Not to mention the fact that a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006 found that conflicts of interest among U.S. FDA drug advisory committee members are common, and also that there is a statistically significant link between such conflicts and voting behavior.

So, please, don't count on the FDA to protect your health. You need to take responsibility for your own health and stop relying on drugs as band-aids to treat your symptoms.

Instead, nip the causes of illness in the bud by taking control of your lifestyle and:
  • Radically cutting back on the nearly 200 pounds of sugar you likely eat each year
  • Not spending 90 percent of your food budget on processed foods
  • Starting to exercise four to five times a week
  • Realizing that your emotional health is a crucial aspect of your overall well-being

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