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Death By Prescription

Death by Prescription, by Ray D. Strand M.D., tells how Americans were once protected by the Federal Drug Administration, which now acts more like an advocate for the pharmaceutical companies than a guardian for the general public. 

There was a time when Americans could feel protected by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). It was a time when only 3-4% of all new drugs were first released in the United States. Eighteen-years later an estimated two-thirds of all new drugs are first being approved in the U.S. What is important to understand is that the FDA and pharmaceutical companies are aware that adverse reactions to a new drug will not become fully evident until after the drug is approved for sale by the FDA.

What makes a bad situation worse is the way the FDA now fast-tracks drugs. They would like the public to think that the reason for fast-tracking is because of public demand to make ‘cures’ available quickly. One has to question this rationalization with the revolving door between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies. It is not unusual for someone working for the FDA to approve drug XYZ and once approved this person soon goes to work for the same pharmaceutical company that manufactures the same XYZ drug. Even those physicians who sit on panels to approve new drugs often receive benefits, in one form or another, from the pharmaceutical company they are suppose to be overseeing.

Dr. Strand, takes us along a journey that explains how drugs are approved today and contrasts today’s policy with procedures before the radical FDA policy changes of 1990. Some questions you might want answered the next time your physician prescribes a medication is if they accept any gifts or money as a speaker from the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the drug. Sure, he or she may appear offended, but in all fairness you are entitled to know if there is a possibility the decision to prescribe that drug is being influenced in any way.

Another question to ask the physician, and one you can follow-up on your own, is how long the drug has been on the market. If it is only a few years, you might want to read Dr. Strand’s, Death by Prescription, before accepting a new drug as the best course of treatment. Otherwise, you may be a Guinea pig instead of just a patient.