Bill Sardi has an excellent piece in lewrockwell.com that needs to be read by every consumer and lawmaker. The article explains how drug inserts deceive and thereby deny every American the right to know the truth about what they are putting in their body. Action Alert!
While drug companies are required to warn of certain side effects, there’s a whole slew of information that is withheld from consumers. Other information appears to be intentionally distorted.
For example, if a drug helps three people out of one hundred while a placebo helps two, that might be presented as 50% better, which is very misleading. When side effects are discussed, it reverts to being one person in a hundred rather than 50% more. There is no conceivable justification for presenting benefits one way and side effects another way.
This is not the only deception in drug marketing. We reported recently that, of the top ten blockbuster drugs, the most effective ones work for only one in four patients. The performance of others is far worse. Crestor (a statin) is effective for only one in eighteen patients, and Nexium (an acid blocker) helps only one in twenty-five (actually we think it injures far more than it helps). As Sardi points out, when effectiveness is reported honestly, the chance of adverse side effects is often greater than the chance of getting any benefit from the drug.
Drug inserts also hide the fact that drugs deplete key nutrients. Acid blockers, for instance, interfere with the body’s absorption of key minerals as well as vitamin D. Cox-2 inhibitors reduce levels of vitamin B6. Antibiotics deplete magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, and more. Do federal regulators think this information is not relevant to consumers?
In addition, package inserts do not disclose that the FDA relies on industry studies to evaluate safety and effectiveness. These are often short-term studies, meaning drugs are approved without knowing the potential long-term consequences. This is why the FDA is often forced to backtrack after approval and issue black box warning or post-market safety communications.
The FDA is responsible for inserts which legally are considered part of the label. It has issued loose rules about package inserts and medication guides, but they are pretty flimsy and largely voluntary. Some medications are required to be issued with medication guides only when the agency determines that such information is necessary to avoid “serious adverse events” or that specific instructions for taking the medicine are required for safety. But as noted above, the information is often both incomplete and distorted.
The FTC is also complicit in this deception, since that agency is responsible for protecting consumers from deceptive advertising. Big drug companies seem to get a pass on their deceptive advertising. Meanwhile both agencies are relentlessly hostile toward any natural product that tries to share valid scientific information with consumers. For example, look at the crusade against POM Wonderful or cherry or walnut growers.
Action Alert! Send a message to the FDA , FTC, and Congress asking them to take action to stop deceptive drug package inserts. Please send your message immediately.
Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health: