Friday, February 26, 2010

Consumer Confidence Takes a Hit

I’ve been reading a lot about prescription drugs and drug companies and the more I read, the more concerned I get.

I came across this New York Times article about the dangers of a diabetes drug called Avandia. Apparently Avandia users have an increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure, but the manufacturer of the drug isn’t quite sure they want to take it off the market.

What’s interesting about this is the FDA tends to concur that a dangerous drug should remain on the market. Their solution is to order the drug manufacturer to conduct a study to find out whether Avandia really does increase the risk of heart problems in diabetic patients.

Now, is it just me, or can you figure out what the results of that study are going to be? I don’t need to be psychic to predict that the drug company will conduct the study and find there is ‘no statistically significant risk’ of heart disease.

I propose what we need in this country is an independent drug study team – one that receives no compensation from the sale of drugs and one that is not affiliated with any agency that receives compensation from pharmaceutical companies. They should conduct unbiased drug studies and publish the results.

Then maybe patients would be safe from deadly side effects...or maybe there would just end up being no drugs at all on the market.

Update: There is an article on this in my local newspaper 2/21/10 which states the FDA estimates 83,000 heart attacks were caused by Avandia. Even with this knowledge in hand, the FDA apparently only required the manufacturer [Glaxo/Smith/Kline] to include a warning on the package stating that the risk of heart attack might be increased.

It makes one wonder how many other drugs are doing more harm than good, but the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing them just having been called out on the problems yet or worse, are just being told by the FDA to put mild warnings on the packages. Again, we’re back to how the industry seems to be training people to accept deadly side effects a natural risk involved in treating an illness. Is it really a reasonable trade off – diabetes or a heart attack?

I don’t think so. How about you?


  1. I don't know what to think any more, myself. I'm on medications that seem to be doing more good than any harm, so I'll stick to 'em - at least for now. Based on recent bloodwork, I may well be getting another prescription or 2. Yippee.

  2. I think if a medication improves the way you feel and you're able to go about your life in a more comfortable way because of it, that's good. Unfortunately I know a lot of people who feel much worse after they start taking prescription drugs. Whether it's just because they're on the wrong ones or the wrong doses I'm not sure.