PRESCRIPTION DRUGS:  CLAIMS AND CRITICISM

If you are like me you get irritated with TV commercials for prescription drugs.  These ads extol a drug’s benefits but then give a long litany of its possible side effects.

 

There are disturbing reports that some drugs may be either ineffective or create more problems than they solve.  Here are recent news items on drugs and vaccines.

 

Asthma medications 

A study by British doctors found that asthma drugs [puffers] prescribed to pre-school children may have little effect. Children receiving dummy pills fared just as well as those taking a five day course of oral steroids.  BBC News www.news.bbc.co.uk, November 1, 2003

 

Pediatric vaccines

A new study of 140,000 children in the U.S. concluded that there is not enough evidence to link pediatric vaccines and autism. Critics of this study question the results because earlier analysis of the same data did find a link between vaccines and neurological problems.  The objectivity of the new study is also in question after it was revealed that the lead author is in the employ of a vaccine manufacturer. www.main.pslgroup.com, November 3, 2003

 

Anti-depressant

Eli Lilly has endured more than a decade of litigation and 300 lawsuits over the alleged side effects of Prozac.  A new suit alleges that the drug may lead to suicide in people whose bodies cannot break down one of the drug’s ingredients.  www.main.pslgroup.com  October 3, 2003: Key word search: “suicide.”

 

Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Eighteen months after a study that found that HRT increased the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, the Canadian Cancer Society has released “one of the bluntest warnings yet issued” stating that “women should not take HRT for any other reason than to treat severe menopausal symptoms that haven’t responded to other treatments”.  Prior to July 2002, 1.2 million Canadian women took HRT; since then an estimated 44 per cent of women have stopped taking these drugs. www.theglobeandmail.com  January 9, 2004. See the Cancer Society’s media release at www.cancer.ca.

 

There are many prescription drugs and vaccines that relieve suffering and save lives. The challenge is to determine which ones live up to their claims and which ones are open to criticism.

                 

What can you do?

§  Find out the effects and possible side effects of specific prescription drugs at www.mayoclinic.com.

§  Access a source like www.psl.group.com to receive current news from the pharmaceutical industry.