LESSONS FROM THE ARTICLES HERE PUBLISHED
A chief difference between faith and science is that science makes earnest attempts to know. This includes medical science. Medicine is different that
other sciences in that the effects of the market place corrupt the testing process.
Executives of drug companies dont want to know that a drug they are marketing or seeking FDA approval to market doesnt
work or doesnt work as well as their trial studies seem to indicate. We thus
have the situation where the hands of science are tied by those who fund the studies.
The articles here publish provide instructive examples of this unfortitutous
relationship. In Methaqualone: How
Drug Companies Profited is a story about how in country after country the manufacture of methaqualone, owning the evidence
of its research, mislead the government regulatory agencies as to its safety and abuse potential, a tranquilizer which became
a popular recreational drug in the late 70s and early 80s. At first it was available
over-the-counter, then prescription but not regulated, then regulated (scheduled). There
was no action against the two manufactures for deceiving the public, the FDA, or physicians.
The control of evidence by those who profit entails its manipulation; the Methaqualone story is one of the most successful
(dollar wise) examples of what is standard practice, the manipulation of evidence that the companies own.
In Bad Data From Drug Companies:
Scientific American Article, another example of the manipulation of evidence for the sake of profits. The data . . . [on Lotronex] are incredibly misleading.
article goes on to describe deceptive presentation of data and the excluding of data as being common.
The article by Arriana Huffington, FDA Supervision of Drug Companies
is an example of how the pharmaceutical industry establishes new markets. Irritable
bowls, hyperactivity, sweaty palms, flatulent, are a few examples for which medications have been developed for conditions
that had up to recently gone unmedicated. Now there are nearly 2 million kids
currently taking Prozac and its equivalents even though the FDA hasn't approved these drugs for use by anyone under 18.
article goes beyond the failure of Congress to require that the drug companies show that their drugs are both safe and effective
for children. Congress in its pro-business posture deliberately declined to pass
such legislation to empower the FDA to require this research of drug companies. Efforts
to bring the bill to a vote have been thwarted by drug companies loyal beneficiaries [$18 million in campaign contributions
in 2002]. Huffington goes on to point out how top posts in the FDA have traditionally
been filled by members of the industry they are to supervise and prosecute. Huffington
concludes: This kind of self-serving, the-public-be-damned thinking is precisely
why we need strong drug industry oversight in Washington, not appointees and politicians beholden to their deep-pocket patrons.
The acetaminophen story, Acetaminophen, the Great Dangerous Hoax,
is an example of how cheap drugs, in the mind of the industry, ought to be replaced by expensive ones. Thus we have acetaminophen being taken nearly as much as aspirin, though both are many times more expensive
and neither is as effective or safe. A similar story is to be told about barbiturates,
which at one time were as cheap as aspirin.
There is a pernicious relationship. Why
else would Congress pass the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, passed in 1992? The
act requires firms to pay the FDA almost
$500,000 in total fees for each approved drug. How objective can the FDAs
This is a
pernicious relationship. It costs lives when a less effective medicine is made
to seem more effective. It causes pain and suffering through the administration
of a less effective treatment. It costs dollars through the administration of
a more expensive treatment. We need to remove the setting of up of trials and
the publication of results from the companies that profit from the results. To
do this we need to remove the relationship between government and business maintained through donations. The process of medical colleges doing testing of established treatments for publication should be extended
to trials for new drugs. It is good enough for established treatments, why not
to drug treatments being developed?