A draft of my column for next week
Lifesaving and Lifestyle Drugs
“Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today.”
-Zager and Evans (In the Year 2525)
A recent New England Journal of Medicine showcased an article entitled, “Good Enough for Government Work” by Harvard Medical School Professor Jerry Avorn M.D.
It is critical of the Food and Drug Administration.
The phrase, “Good enough for government work” implies that the government has lower standards that private industry.
Government standards ought to be higher than private business. Government is funded by all Americans and created to help people.
The FDA ought to have especially high standards. They deal in life and death.
The FDA is supposed to be our watchdog but has become the pharmaceutical company’s lapdog.
You see many stories about the FDA being cozy with the drug companies they are supposed to be regulating.
People at the FDA need to remember they are messing with people’s lives.
Several of my friends died because the FDA allowed drugs like Redux and Vioxx onto the market.
They took the drugs because the FDA said they were safe. They were not.
I don’t know how the bureaucrats who made decisions that killed people can sleep at night.
I guess they load up on the new insomnia pills.
Ahorn discussed how the FDA needs to distinguish between “lifestyle” and “live saving” drugs.
The big money for the drug companies are in “lifestyle” drugs.
Since there men who will pay big money for Viagra and people who want pills that to lose weight, there is a big incentive for drug companies to give people what they want.
Just look at their television advertising. You don’t see ads for pills that save lives.
The companies spend their advertising dollars pushing pills to help your sex life.
There are millions who want to romp around like people in the Levitra and Cialis ads. There are only a limited number of people who need to buy cancer drugs.
The FDA ought to focus their attention on approving lifesaving drugs. You hear stories of people going to foreign countries for medicine because the FDA is too slow to approve drugs that can save lives.
That should never happen.
If a drug allows a person to live longer, the FDA ought to act quickly to make sure the lifesaving drugs get to the people who need it.
Lifestyle drugs should not come on the market until the FDA is sure that they WON”T kill somebody.
The chance for billions of dollars in profits caused the pharmaceutical companies to push diet drugs onto the market before they were proven safe. Their friends in the FDA let it happen.
It looks like the FDA did the same thing with Vioxx.
The large jury verdict against Vioxx was a message to the world. It was 12 ordinary people saying that we need to stop handing out drugs that kill people
Ed Norton’s character in the movie, “Fight Club” was a guy who worked for a automobile manufacturer and tried to figure out if it was a cheaper to recall a defective product or stay quiet and try to settle any injury claims that come up.
I suspect a similar decision making process goes on at drug companies. They walk a line between making big profits or doing things carefully in a manner that saves lives.
Without proper regulation and oversight, the companies are going to fall to the temptation of quick money. There is too much pressure from stockholders and competitors.
It is the FDA’s job to keep the drug companies in line.
We also need to focus ourselves on not using lifestyle drugs.
I have a terrible time controlling my weight and always looking for a quick answer. I took Redux and would be tempted by another diet pill like it.
It would simpler than switching to a low stress life with proper diet and exercise.
A doctor told me that people are falling into the trap that Elvis Presley did, where he needed pills to wake up, sleep and get through the day.
Drug companies are pushing pills that can control everything we think, do and say. We need the FDA to watch them.
We also need to stop and think before we pop that next “lifestyle” drug.
Don McNay is the President of McNay Settlement Group where we practice a lifestyle of making our clients money. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or read other things he written at www.donmcnay.com