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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Health Debate (6). Why pharmaceutical drug testing & regulation fails to protect us

Both Drug Testing, and Drug Regulation regimes have been established around the world now for many decades, introduced to protect patients from pharmaceutical drugs that were a threat to our health - drugs like Thalidomide, which caused such havoc to the lives of so many families in the late 1960s, early 1970s.

Both Testing and Regulatory regimes came into being in recognition of the simple, and undeniable fact that Conventional Medical (ConMed) drugs were inherently unsafe, and that the public needed to be safeguarded from them.

However, one notable feature of both Testing and Regulatory regimes over the last 40 years and more, and throughout the world, has been their apparent inability and failure to protect us from useless and dangerous drugs, vaccines and other treatments.

Drug testing has allowed new drugs to be introduced on a regular basis, pronouncing each one to be effective and safe, and often proclaiming many to be 'wonder drugs' , or 'magic bullets. They are then marketed, prescribed to patients for many years, usually producing enormous profits for the Big Pharma drug companies, but one-by-one these same drugs have been found to be dangerous, or ineffective, or both, and they have had to be progressively restricted in their use before being withdrawn or banned.

Drug Regulation was established to verify that new drugs have been properly tested for their safety and effectiveness, prior to giving them approval for use with patients. After this, Regulatory agencies were supposed to monitor the performance of drugs once they are used with patients. However, in far too many instances, drug regulators have allowed pharmaceutical drugs to be used many years after they were initially found to be unsafe or dangerous.

The Health Debate should be concerned with the performance, and even the basic integrity and honesty of both these processes. Indeed, if the mainstream Media had any compassionate interest in their readers, listeners or viewers, all of whom are also patients, and consumers of these drugs, they would have been asking several key questions many, many years ago.
  • Why are Medical Drug Testing regimes unable to ensure that all Big Pharma drugs are safe and effective, and do so before, rather than after, they have been given to patients, and causing serious, detrimental and even lethal effects on our health?
  • Why do Drug Testing outcomes regularly fail to reflect the later outcomes when Big Pharma drugs are prescribed to patients and found to be useless or dangerous or both?
  • Are Drug Testing regimes sufficiently independent from the influence of the Big Pharma companies? And if not, why not?
  • Are 'negative' Drug Testing results routinely publicised, and made available to Drug Regulators? Are key conventional medical bodies routinely made aware of negative Drug Testing results, and if so, do they inform the Media, and patients?
  • Why does Drug Regulation fail to pick up the regular and ongoing inadequacy of Drug Testing? Why do they fail to approve drugs that are ineffective and unsafe?
  • Why is the Drug Regulatory system not more successful in monitoring the performance of Big Pharma drugs, and pick up on serious adverse reactions, and disease-inducing effects (DIEs) of Big Pharma drugs, at a much earlier stage?
  • Are Drug Regulatory Agencies sufficiently independent from the influence of the Big Pharma companies? And if not, why not?
  • Why is it that only an estimated 10% of 'adverse reactions' to pharmaceutical drugs reported by patients through their doctors actually getting through to the Drug Regulators?
  • Why are Drug Regulators slow to restrict, and to ban ConMed drugs? Why do they ignore problems with pharmaceutical drugs when they first become known, and wait, sometimes for years, before taking action against them?
  • Why are Big Pharma drugs, banned in one country by one Regulator, still allowed to be sold in another country by another Regulator? Why, for instance, are drugs banned in one country, say, the USA, but allowed to be sold in this country? And vice versa?
  • Are the Drug Testing, and Drug Regulatory regimes failing because ConMed is an inherently dangerous and ineffective medical system?
  • And are their safer, and more effective medical therapies available that do not suffer from such inherent dangers?
Statistics are readily available about the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs, for instance, the number of hospital admissions arising from taking them, and the number of fatalities known to be caused by taking them. These statistics demonstrate clearly that Drug Testing, and Drug Regulation regimes have failed. Unfortunately, these statistic are just as readily ignored by the mainstream Media.

The seventh part of this series concerns the issue of Patient Choice, and the monopoly of ConMed treatment within the NHS.

If you would like to be informed when the seventh part of this series is published, why not become a 'follower', and sign up for this blog; or subscribe to it by email - and join the Health Debate.