Posts Tagged ‘fda’

Drugs to make you sick

Posted: February 22, 2012 by nullpointerexceptional in Health
Tags: ,

Here is a gem I came across while reading an article on the FDA reviewing caffeine:

This is so ridiculous.  I suppose the manufacturers of this product greased the palms of the FDA but good.  How about a cure for Diabetes and Cancer?  There are thousands of young scientists doing just that but they can’t get into clinical trials because they don’t have the funding– but some quack produces THIS and it gets considered and will only be recalled when a few hundred die from it.  The FDA has one thing in mind — Money, and if you have it, they will allow it, hence all the bogus pharmaceuticals designed to keep you or make you sick.  What a world. (CNN.com)

I appreciate alternative views on society but this comment is second to none, well except maybe people that think the gold standard is a good idea, and really show the lack of education on the matter. Being sort of an expert on all things pharma, I can only laugh at what this person has to say and want to educate others which may fall into this same mindset. Queue National Geographic intro music…

First off, of the costs associated with bringing a drug to market only a small percentage ever hits the books of the FDA. Your average drug development costs are on the order of $1 billion once you factor in four rounds of clinical trials compared to the ~$1.2 million associated with a full drug application (roughly .001% of the costs). If you’ve ever seen a drug application (I’ll just assume you haven’t), you’d know that they basically cut down a small forest to print out a hard copy with all the clinical data. The FDA needs a small army of people to review all the data and ensure that the drug company followed industry standards – all people that are paid. Let’s also not forget that just because the company pays the application fee, that the drug is approved. Use your favorite search engine and look for “fda rejections” for a little bit of fun. The FDA is meant to provide reasonable oversight to drugs and devices marketed to the greater public – without them, we’d literally have snake oil being sold as the cure for cancer…

What about a cure for cancer and diabetes? Between these two classes of diseases, billions of dollars are spent in basic research at universities and an unimaginable amount at both big and small pharma. Any time a viable treatment option is found or new potentially viable compound is discovered/created, money is thrown at it. Venture capital goons love throwing their money at these wonder compounds because their few million dollar gamble now could be worth billions in drug sales in the future – sort of like hitting the lottery.  Heck, even universities will spin off commercial entities to bring a drug to market just for a cut of the licensing fees. I have a hard time believing that there are scientist sitting out there with viable compounds or revolutionary treatment having a hard time finding funding – there is just too much money to be made to risk not looking into it further.

It’s the perfect business model: drug companies create drugs that keep you sick so they are able to turn a greater profit off of your warm body, eventually killing you in the long run. If people were not sick in the first place, drug companies would not exist. Ok, so you got sick and now you’re taking a drug – if you stayed sick or got sicker while taking a drug, wouldn’t you stop taking it? I know if I took a drug for my acne and required Chipotle Away in response to a nasty side effect I’d stop taking it. How bout those fun-loving side effects caused by chemo therapy? No one said drug development or treatments were perfect – far from it actually. Drugs and treatments are rated and compared by their statistical likely hood of being effective at treating your symptoms while at the same time weighing the risks of the side effects. Except for twins or the like, the effect a given drug or treatment has on an individual can vary greatly so the expectation of a wonder drug with no side effects, curing your ailment is absurd unless you talk about custom tailored drugs, currently cost prohibitive. Sick people can’t work – people that can’t work can’t pay for prescription drugs, even with Obamacare.

Drug companies are around not because they are money hoarding, evil entities looking to steal your money, soul, and wife but because they improve the quality of life in a statistical sense. Sure some guy might die from a heart attack that might have been caused by a drug or you might be covered in teal polka dots for the rest of your life but if it improves the quality of life for a statistically significant population what’s the big deal? The person knew the risks of taking the drug in the first place (except in cases of shoddy clinical trials but that’s a topic for another day) and valued the potential life without the ailment more than the statistical likelihood of any of the side effects.Case closed, no conspiracy, no cover up.

To the person that wrote the quotation above, next time you get sick don’t take any drugs or antibiotics and see how well you feel and how fast you recover.

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