Reliable Answers - News and Commentary

The Myth of Drug Safety

The Drugging of Our Children with Gary Null (1 hr. 43 min.)

by: Annette M. Hall

When I first heard that Vioxx was being taken off the market, I sent out e-mails and made phone calls to various attorney's involved with the Vioxx class-action lawsuits, only to find out that I have no remedy under the law. Unless I fall into a pile of money to hire a private attorney, something not likely to happen.

I was smart enough to question my doctor on the dangers of Vioxx and stop taking the drug before actually suffering a heart-attack, but I may end up with long-term damage from my year-long use of Vioxx anyway, no one knows. I like millions of others have no legal protection or recourse.

Vioxx was taken off the market in September of 2004, due to an increased risk of heart-attacks, especially in women. After confronting my doctor with a study that announced the increased risk back in August of 2002, I stopped using the drug. I had begun experiencing frequent heart palpitations and chest pain while taking Vioxx and began doing my own research into drug contradictions. I was convinced the drug was dangerous and stopped taking it immediately.

I noticed shortly after I had began to take the medication that if I took it at night before bedtime, I would have terrible nightmares. Once the connection was made, I started taking it first thing in the morning. It wasn't long however, before the chest pains started.

Less than three months after the popular arthritis and pain medication Vioxx was pulled off the market for increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, Pfizer announced that Celebrex, the drug billed as the safe alternative, had been suspended from use in a clinical trial after it too was found to raise the risk of cardiovascular problems and deaths.

The drug has been prescribed to an estimated 26 million people worldwide, mainly for arthritis, but also for pain linked to everything from sprains to tendinitis. The drug saw a huge increase in use after many switched to Celebrex (Celecoxib) since Vioxx, made by Merck, vanished from pharmacy shelves.

Could Bextra Be Next?

More than 50 million Americans are suffering from chronic pain

According to the American Pain Foundation, there are more than 50 million Americans suffering from chronic pain, or 25 million experiencing acute pain as a result of injury or surgery. Worldwide, 2 million people were taking Vioxx at the time of the recall.

The New England Journal of Medicine released a report yesterday that calls for clinicians to stop prescribing Pfizer's Bextra, another popular new-generation painkiller, on the grounds that it too may increase "cardiotoxicity."

As a sufferer of not only arthritis, but of fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, painful bulges in my spine and various other ailments, I have taken a great many prescribed drugs. No prescription drug is without risks or contradictions. Patients are well advised to not only consult their pharmacist regarding possible risks and side-effects, they should bring a list of medications they are taking with them to any doctor visits. With today's HMO mentality, doctors just don't have the time to spend researching your medical history before writing a prescription for the latest so-called "miracle drug."

Natural Healing Methods

As for our family, we have switched to homeopathic medicine and use natural healing methods whenever possible, avoiding the allopathic medical community almost entirely. They have proven by their actions that by and large, they care more about lining their pocketbooks than they do patient safety.

Don't bother to look toward the FDA or the US government for protection. The pharmaceutical industry provides major funding to political candidates each year, buying the silence of those with the power to effect consumer safety and rein in the FDA.

For those who suffer daily the debilitating effects of chronic pain, finding a safe choice within the medical community remains a myth. Nothing beats natural, and marijuana in its unprocessed state, is providing millions the relief they seek without the dangerous risk of heart attack, stoke, liver damage or other coronary illness.

Several years ago, I actually wrote Representative Doug Ose requesting his support for federal legislation in support of medical marijuana. In reply I received a wordy response stating how dangerous marijuana is and how approving a bill in support of pot would not be in the publics best interest, ad nauseam...

FDA Approves Risky Drugs

Additional Info:

While Ose's response would seem reasonable to a person with little knowledge of the use of marijuana, most of his arguments were anecdotal in nature and regurgitated the anti-marijuana party line, instead of relaying any substantial scientific facts.

The truth of the matter is developing new pharmaceutical drugs is an expensive business. Those taking Soma, Celebrex, Vioxx, Tylenol, Naproxen, and other drugs commonly used for pain relief such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, codeine, morphine and antidepressants number in the millions and provide the much needed financial support, drug companies need to continue bringing new drugs to market.

When AIDS first come on the scene in the early 1980s pharmaceutical companies waged a public campaign to enable them to dramatically decrease the amount of time it took for a drug to reach the corner drugstore. Today instead of taking 15 or 20 years for a new drug to be approved by the FDA, drugs are rushed through the approval process in record time, often putting the public at great risk.

The campaign against medical marijuana has been waged for many years and shows no signs of slowing. Drug companies realize that should pot be legalized for medical purposes their gravy train would run out of steam. Not only does marijuana not produce the side-effects prone to commercially manufactured drugs but it does not come with the high risks associated with today's hi-tech med's. How many times have you been prescribed one drug, just to have the doctor prescribe another to deal with the side effects of taking the first drug?

My best advice to consumers is to carefully weight the benefits and risks of each and every drug your doctor prescribes. Do not depend on anyone else to make health decisions for you or your family members. Discuss your choices with your doctor, better still, find a good homeopath to treat your family.

Over Use of Antibiotics

I once took my son in to see the doctor because of an inner ear infection. The doctor was all set to prescribe antibiotics for him when I questioned him on alternatives, being concerned by the over use of antibiotics. Only when asked did the doctor volunteer that my sons ear infection would clear up on its own in approximately 8-days, the use of the antibiotic gave only a one-day advantage.

I opted instead to give him regular children's Tylenol to help make him comfortable during the healing process and true to the doctors word, his ear healed very nicely after a week, without the use of prescription antibiotics and the Tylenol was only necessary for a couple of days.

Had I not taken the time to ask, the doctor would never have taken the time to explain my options. We must all begin to explore our health options and make better choices where our families are concerned, if we are to avoid being guinea pigs for major pharmaceutical companies. Merek knew about the dangers of Vioxx a full 2-years prior to pulling the drugs from the shelves. How many people suffered and died needlessly because of their lack of concern for patient safety? No one knows what lasting effects these types of drugs hold for the future of an unsuspecting public who has placed their trust and often their very lives in the hands of drug companies.

Updated December 14, 2009

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