March 18, 2009
TV DRUG ADS NEED TO BE BANNED! ALL OF THEM!
Drug ads should be banned completely. It’s a very big element of why drugs are so expensive. Spend less on the ads and spend more on properly testing the drugs and properly educating doctors about what is available. We shouldn’t be running to the doctor saying, â€œOh, I need some of the ‘abcd’ drug because some sports star or ice skater told me so.’
Doctors should KNOW what drugs are available, diagnose the condition and prescribe appropriately. But in fact, doctors are often pressured to use the new big-money drugs and it becomes difficult at times to use some of the old standard drugs that work quite well. And, of course, there are some docs who are among the bad guys, over-prescribing and perhaps even abusing drugs themselves. We need to find some balance, but we should start with banning drug ads in the media.
Celebrex and Vioxx are the classic examples. They have been promoted more extensively than any other drugs on earth and are outrageously expensive. Yet their level of pain relief is only roughly that of Motrin and Aleve (remember, they were prescription-only drugs not so long ago).
No reason they should be so expensive, other than 1) pure greed and 2) gotta pay for all that excessive advertising. Look where Vioxx is now—–Dumped after hurting so many. Celebrex and Betra (comparable drugs) may well be right behind it. Oh, and they tell you that these drugs donâ€™t upset your stomach like Motrin does. What a lie! Talk to the pharmacists; they know better.
Thatâ€™s just the pitch the drug companies make and doctors foolishly listen to them. Granted, ibuprofen (Motrin, etc.) upsets a lot of stomachs but it isnâ€™t alone in that regard.
The Viagra ads are another classic. Recently the most current ad was going to be pulled because it doesn’t address 1) the disease or condition treated (just see your doctor now for a free trial six-pack) and 2) doesn’t mention the risk factors (heart attack, death, etc.).
Gosh, it is my understanding that those two things are required in ads but not since they dropped Bob Dole and his Limp Noodle Syndrome have they been mentioned. Yet it took this long for any action? Duh, the ad pulled is just the MOST offensive of the whole series (with those stupid blue horns rising from his head) but they all violated the supposed requirement. Guess money rules as usual.
Did the FDA also make a mistake in approving GHB (disguised as Xyrem)? I think so.
But—Look how many deaths it took to bring attention to Vioxx????? Xyrem won’t kill that many because the number of Xyrem users won’t be anywhere near the number of Vioxx prescriptions. So, it will be ignored completely, no matter what the percentages.
In fact, an FDA official told me point blank (before GHB was approved) that he did NOT CARE how many it killed or how many became addicted to it, he was going to approve it anyway. Gee, think he is too closely allied with that drug company???? Despite the fact that I made his statement public in the FDA hearing on Xyrem, it sparked no interest at all in the FDA.
They didn’t care what he said or how close he was to the drug company. Even the investors in Xyrem’s company, on their message board, laughed about the’inappropriate’ relationship between the FDA and the company but thought it was cool as they expect to make big bucks from this drug.
Meanwhile, Project GHB (www.projectghb.org) is getting an increasing number of emails from those with problems taking Xyrem, given to them by doctors who have NO clue whatsoever what they are dealing with. The FDA refused to exempt this drug from off-label use (a shaky policy that allows doctors to play with your health by playing with drugs for uses other what it has been tested and approved for). Even the FDA’s own drug review panel said, ‘If any drug should be exempted from off-label use, it is this one.’
One doctor recently foolishly–gave Xyrem to a woman with sleeping disorders who also had other health problems and a history of alcoholism. He adamantly insisted that Xyrem is NON-ADDICTIVE. How wrong he is!!! And, this patient already had a history of alcoholism.
The patient was also taking other pain drugs with high abuse potential without anyone really confronting with the patient the issues of potential addiction and abuse.
The PATIENT recognized a growing tolerance to GHB (the doctor continued to insist that it isn’t addictive throughout) and the PATIENT recognized that care should be taken with any medications. The patient tossed the Xyrem and pushed away from some of the other drugs. And, reported that within a few weeks felt better than in a long time.
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