How Big Pharma Sells You Dangerous Drugs

One of the biggest problems that we have these days is a constant conflict of interest that seems to permeate our official institutions. We need to hear a lot more in the media and in public dialogue about the dangers of conflicts of interest. It certainly appears that the vaunted drug approval process, which takes years and lots of money is supposed to ensure the safety of our pharmaceuticals, has in fact been deeply compromised by a complex of interest between the FDA, research centers and finally the prestigious scientific journals that publish a lot of bogus studies.

How Big Pharma Sells You Dangerous Drugs

By Michael Jelinekon 06/02/2011

The FDA is warning that a recently approved heart drug doubles your risk of death.

The drug in question is dronedarone. Its street name is Multaq. It was approved in July 2009 by the FDA. And doctors wrote over half a million prescriptions for it in 2010.

But it’s now clear that the drug causes severe liver injury. In some cases even acute liver failure. Late last year two patients were rushed to hospital for emergency liver transplants. Directly because of the drug.

And this is just the most recent case of FDA-approved drugs causing serious damage. A quick review of 2010 shows that one drug or another was in the news almost every month. Why? Because they cause serious – and often life-threatening – side effects.

So why is the FDA approving so many drugs with such dangerous side effects? And how do they get through the FDA’s review process in the first place? Join us as we investigate how and why Big Pharma sells you risky drugs.

Changing Lanes

So how is it that the FDA reviews a clinical drug trial and approves it for sale? Then some time later – and many millions of dollars’ worth of profits for the drug maker – turns around and withdraws it?

According to Dr. Marcia Angell, part of the problem comes from how the initial trials are generated.

Dr. Angell is currently a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School. She also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine for over a decade. It was her job to judge such trials for publication in America’s oldest and most prestigious medical journal.

She says there’s a real problem with how drug trials are created and reviewed.

“There is growing evidence that financial conflicts of interest are compromising the integrity of clinical research,” says Dr. Angell.

She notes that the same drug companies – whose first priority is to make profits from their drugs – also sponsor most of the clinical trials that allow new drugs to be sold.

Her research shows that in the year 2000 alone, the drug makers spent almost $400 billion on grants for clinical trials. That compares to just $750 million spent by the US government.

Dr. Angell says some of that $400 billion goes to pay the clinical investigators who assess the safety and usefulness of these drugs. What Dr. Angell is saying – in simple language – is that the people who are doing the testing are paid to find the drugs useful and safe!

“Drug companies now control how and whether research is reported,” says Dr. Angell.

She notes that academic medical centers allow drug companies to design their own trials, analyze the data, write the papers, and review them before publication. They even decide whether to allow publication at all.

“Many clinical trials are never published because the results do not favor the sponsor’s product,” says Dr. Angell.

Sounds too incredible to be true?

You don’t have to take Dr. Angell’s expert opinion for it. The truth is available for all to see. Thanks to legal cases between individuals and drug makers that have since become public record…

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