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Dangerous Prescription

More than a dozen dangerous drugs have been pulled off the market
since 1997. Why were they approved in the first place? An investigation
of America's drug safety system.

In 1992 a major structural change at the Food & Drug Administration initiated a change in the agency's mission goal. Apparently the goal as stated is still to approve only drugs that are effective and safe, but the real primary mission of the FDA has become to get drugs to market. PBS recently televised an hour long documentary on their "Frontline" documentary series called "Dangerous Prescription".

This documentary explains how drug companies failed in reporting known dangerous drug reactions and conducted their corporate dealings with an evident disregard for truth, safety, and responsibility. For details that will probably anger you, check out this link:

The major change that occurred is that the FDA before was fully funded through the U.S. Treasury. Since 1992 an increasingly larger share of the FDA funds come from charges to the drug companies for each approval application submitted. In short, the governing body of the FDA is reluctant to upset the people who pay their bills. The PBS documentary does an outstanding job in showing what the unintended consequences have been. There is also data to suggest that Congress shares the blame, in that historically, Congress used to have regular reviews of the FDA, but now have had only two such in the last 10 years. Please be skeptical of the new FDA drug approvals -- it is not the gold standard of safety we were used to.


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