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Monday 4 March 2024

An Asthma Drug Kills: so the Drug Regulator does another "Review". Is this enough?

Montelukast is an asthma drug, better known as Singulair. It has caused the death of patients who have taken it. This Guardian headline (3 March 2024) says that "a healthy kid dies and there has been no change": parents’ anger over lack of warnings for blockbuster asthma drug. Teenager Harry Miller took his own life two years after being prescribed montelukast. His family say they were not made aware of the reported psychiatric side-effects of the drug".

The parents were not told about the "side effects" of the drug? (And is death really a "side effect"). I am surprised that anyone should be surprised at this statement! Too many people trust their doctors, implicitly, and put their complete faith entirely and completely into the hands of a medical system that has always peddled dangerous drugs and vaccines. 

I checked to see what the NHS website now says about the "side effects" of this drug - 4 years after Harry's death. It highlights Diarrhoea, High Temperature, Headaches, stomach pain, feeling or being sick, and a mild rash. Then it goes on to mention, under 'serious side effects', that a doctor should be called if "you notice changes and you become depressed, aggressive or you're thinking of harming yourself".

This is presumably the doctor who prescribed the drug and omitted to tell the parents about the 'side effects' of aggression and self-harm (suicide) that it was known to cause. 

Yet what does my go-to website for pharmaceutical harm,, say about Montelukask? It's all there, within a black box warning.

        "Warning: Serious Neuropsychiatric Events. Serious neuropsychiatric (NP) events have been reported in patients taking montelukast. The types of events reported were highly variable, and included, but were not limited to, agitation, aggression, depression, sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts and behavior (including suicide). The mechanisms underlying NP events associated with montelukast use are currently not well understood. Because of the risk of NP events, the benefits of montelukast may not outweigh the risks in some patients, particularly when the symptoms of disease may be mild and adequately treated with alternative therapies."

So the problems of this asthma drug are known by conventional medical authorities. Yet the drug has been prescribed in most countries since 1998, over 25 years! And as the Guardian article intimated, until recently it was a 'blockbuster' drug. In 2020, two years after Harry's death, Montelukask-Singulaire was still the 14th most commonly prescribed drug, and therefore, highly profitable for the drug company.

Montelukask-Singulaire is yet another example of the dishonesty of the pharmaceutical industry, another medical tragedy waiting to be made public. Informing patients about serious adverse drug reactions means that they will be more cautious about taking it, thus harming the attractiveness and profitability of the drug. Yet Merck, the drug company, knew that its asthma drug could lead to suicide. Indeed, a group of parents have been trying to sue the company for many years, but as this Children's Health Defense link said, in June 2023, the legal action was unsuccessful, “stymied by an effective corporate liability shield: the doctrine of federal pre-emption”

What this means is that drug companies are prepared to harm us for profit! They have, after all, been doing so for many decades, with many other pharmaceutical drugs, and if you believe this is an over-statement of the situation I have listed some of the more serious medical scandals that demonstrate the assertion at this link. And, of course, there have been literally hundreds of pharmaceutical drugs that have been banned or withdrawn over the last 70 years, and more; I have listed many of these at this link.

Yet such is the parlous state of drug regulation now it would seem that pharmaceutical drugs that harm patients are no longer banned or withdrawn. As with Montelukask-Singulaire they are "placed under review", and doctors are restricted to when, and to whom, they can be prescribed! But what this means is that highly profitable drugs continue to be prescribed. This asthma drug was highly profitable: which, of course, is probably the main reason for it not being banned, or withdrawn. And why people like Harry are dying.

Drug Regulation around the world is now dominated, under the firm control, of pharmaceutical interests. Originally, the main purpose of drug regulators like the MHRA in the UK, the FDA in the USA, and the EMA in Europe, was to protect patients. They now fail to do so. In the UK this possibility has, at last, been recognised by a small group of MP's in the UK Parliament, where an all-party group have stated that the MHRA were aware of heart and clotting issues arising from the Covid-19 vaccines were known about as early as February 2021, but did not highlight the problems for several months

The result of this concern, perhaps coincidentally, has been that the Chief Executive of the MHRA has suddenly announced her resignation from the post! This was reported in the Telegraph 0n 27 February 2024. The MP's have also warned that the MHRA's Yellow Card reporting system, which encourages patients and doctors to report their concerns about adverse drug reaction, "grossly underestimates" the size of the problem of patient harm by pharmaceutical drugs, in some instances picking up just 1 in 180 cases of the harm drugs have caused.

I have been writing about the problem of pharmaceutical drug regulation, and the patient harm caused by these drugs, for many years. Perhaps, now, at long last, something will be done, although this issue too will probably have to be 'reviewed' many times before any effective action is taken! Perhaps it will make parents, like Harry's, more aware that pharmaceutical drugs are dangerous, and that no-one within the NHS will protect them. 

And during these interminable drug reviews there will undoubtedly be many more "Harry's", people who pay the ultimate price for the mayhem being caused by pharmaceutical medicine.