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Unapproved medicine

  1. Nov 24, 2008 #1

    Office_Shredder

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    Holy cow! I saw this on CBS this morning, but dismissed it thinking it was about people overdosing on Advil or something silly like that. Instead I stumbled upon what may be the largest bureaucratic failure in recent history

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/24/health/main4628893.shtml

    Why is it so hard to coordinate what drugs are and aren't allowed to be purchased? You'd think someone would just step and lay down the law, instead of having some smokescreen of lack of enforcement and confusion over grandfathering to allow dangerous drugs to be sold and paid for by taxpayer money.

    And why don't doctors know the drugs they're prescribing aren't FDA approved? Aren't they supposed to know things like what the FDA reports the side effects are?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2008 #2
    The system is flooded, basically. The FDA lets all of these homeopathic drugs through because they are just water, so they figure even if people are dumb enough to buy it, at least they won't hurt themselves with it.

    Well, unless they take them instead of real medication, thinking it will work...
     
  4. Nov 24, 2008 #3

    Office_Shredder

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    Read the article!

    This isn't just homeopathic sugar pills, this is dangerous stuff being packaged as medicine, and you're paying for it to boot
     
  5. Nov 24, 2008 #4

    mgb_phys

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    You have to be careful to check who the story is coming from.

    Canada is in the process of banning all non-approved 'medicines'.

    This either means that all dangerous fake drugs will be banned - if you are drug company PR release.
    Or it means all natural foods will be banned unless the farmer can fund a full clinical trial on a herb that people have been taking for centuries - if you are a health food store.
     
  6. Nov 24, 2008 #5

    Moonbear

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    If you read the examples given, these aren't herbal remedies they're talking about. I'm more puzzled about who is selling these drugs and how/why they are obtaining them if they are not FDA approved.

    I mean, they had colchicine listed in the article! :bugeye: That stops neural transmission. It's something used in the lab setting if we think a neuron is releasing its neurotransmitters too fast for us to detect the cell body (because no neurotransmitter that we're staining for is stored long enough to find it). You dump it on and action potentials are blocked. Why would you inject that into a person? Who's doing the injecting, and where are they obtaining it?

    There ARE non-approved drugs sold, but it's only supposed to be for research purposes, and their labeling is pretty clear that they are NOT for humans (at least all the ones I've seen).
     
  7. Nov 24, 2008 #6
    couple of things. first, if there's medical malpractice going on, you should ban the doctors, not the substances. and second, people get sick and sometimes die from approved medicines prescribed to them.

    so, how about it? how do approved substances compare with these others? does anyone know, or is this just a bunch of noise?
     
  8. Nov 24, 2008 #7

    russ_watters

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    Well, the critical difference would be that one class has passed a risk/reward analysis and the other has not. Clearly, not all non-approved medicines would necessarily be harmful, but they are currently allowed to be more harmful than any approved medicine, so it stands to reason that some are.
     
  9. Nov 24, 2008 #8
    I said the system is flooded. That applies to this as well. The homeopathic thing was just an example.
     
  10. Nov 24, 2008 #9
    ...you're seriously saying you'd take a drug that hasn't been tested by a 3rd party over a drug that has?
     
  11. Nov 24, 2008 #10

    Evo

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    If you read the article, the problem is old "medications" that existed prior to when the FDA started controlling new drugs in 1962. The manufacturers of these "drugs" claim to be "grandfathered". Medicaid seems to be more lax than Medicare in removing these drugs from their list of drugs approved for payment. The issue is that no agency has appropriated enough personnel or funds to eliminate these drugs unless enough people die to warrant action.

    If you read the entire article, you will understand the scope of the problem.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  12. Nov 24, 2008 #11

    russ_watters

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    Yes, it is largely an administrative $$$ problem.
     
  13. Nov 24, 2008 #12

    mgb_phys

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    On both sides - no company is going to fund a series of clinical trials for a drug that is out of patent. As soon as it gets approved the generics will get all the benefit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  14. Nov 24, 2008 #13

    Evo

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    That's not the issue, it's old "medications", aka "snake oil" that have been around for ages and have never been certified as being safe or even having any medical benefits, and no US Government agency has bothered to ban them.
     
  15. Nov 24, 2008 #14
    Couldn't some sort of temporary "patent" type law be issued to the company that does these trials?
     
  16. Nov 24, 2008 #15

    Evo

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    There are no drug trials, please read the article.
     
  17. Nov 24, 2008 #16
    one of the items mentioned was vitamin E. i don't think i want vitamin E taken off the market, even if it is sometimes used in ways it shouldn't be.

    and actually, no, i'm not too impressed with FDA. they seem a little too eager to give a green light to pharmaceutical companies. there have been some rather big lawsuits in the past few years over drugs given the OK by FDA. 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th parties seem like a good idea to me. that's how science is supposed to work, independent verification.
     
  18. Nov 24, 2008 #17

    Evo

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    Actually the FDA has been criticized for being too cautious and taking too long to approve drugs. That is why there is such a big market for drugs being illegally brought into the US from Canada.
     
  19. Nov 24, 2008 #18
    no it isn't. the FDA protects domestic drug companies and favors US company drugs over foreign company drugs. also, these same US firms sell the exact same drugs in overseas markets for much cheaper than they sell them here. most of the drugs being illegally imported from canada are available here, but the canadian source is cheaper.
     
  20. Nov 24, 2008 #19
    I wasn't referring to the article. I was referring to people saying drug companies won't do trials because they don't have patent rights. Ergo my idea to give shorter-term patent rights in exchange for doing trials.
     
  21. Nov 24, 2008 #20

    Evo

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    Well, those people were off topic, since that's not in the article.
     
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