The Medication Prescribed For You May Kill You! Thank The Republicans!

In many of my past articles, I have raised the alarm regarding the Republican's insane plunge into the dangers of allowing their masters in the pharmaceutical industry the "fast track" authority that these drug pushers were demanding of their servants. Fast track authority means that a drug can be forced around long term trials and nearly directly onto the market if it can be shown to have some curative effect on certain classes of illnesses. By-passing the trials that the FDA has long demanded for every drug before allowing it to be sold to an unsuspecting medical community and their patients is a misfortune waiting to happen.

Well, the obvious result of this unwarranted stupidity is coming to pass. People are needlessly dying, not from any disease, but rather from the drugs that were innocently prescribed for them by their physicians. In fact, at times the FDA has even completely ignored warnings from the medical community and researchers at universities and allowed poorly tested drugs to reach the market without informing anyone of the lack of long term information on its effects.

In what must certainly be embarrassing to any thinking and caring American, the latest drug which has caused deaths, Rezulin, created as a possible cure for diabetes, was pulled from the market in Britain after just one fatality. The FDA, in its eminent imbecility, ordered no action but to, on three separate occasions, send instructions telling doctors to take additional steps to "protect" patients with adult-onset diabetes and using Rezulin.

Rezulin is now acknowledged, at last, by the FDA to have been the direct cause of at least 33 deaths since its introduction in March of 1997. Just last June, the death toll had already reached 21 deaths but no action was recommended by the FDA physicians in charge of over seeing the drug's use. In fact, they now admit that, in their rush to put the drug on the market, they over looked compelling evidence of the liver damage now shown to be the final cause of death in all 33 patients.

Perhaps, you my ask, there must have been an immediate and powerful demand for this drug from either physicians or sufferers of adult-onset diabetes? Absolutely not, according to most professionals involved in the research and medical care of the disease. In fact, there are currently nine other drugs that have been proven effective as well as the simple precaution of specific diets and exercise.

Overall, according to FDA records, Rezulin causes liver damage in approximately 2% of everyone who takes it, but the livers natural ability to regrow damaged tissue has allowed those whose physicians diagnosed the problem early enough to prevent the irreversible slide into certain death. These deaths are preceded by nausea, fatigue and jaundice which coalesced into the demise of the patient.

Now for the truly obscene part of this travesty. When the maker of Rezulin, Warner- Lambert Co., first introduced the drug at a news conference, Dr. Richard C. Eastman, the National Institute of Health's top diabetes researcher, claimed that the drug "corrects the underlying cause of diabetes". This entire episode was a tragedy for all Americas on two very large points. First, there was never any proof whatsoever that the drug came anywhere near meeting that claim, nor will the company now even acknowledge that the statement was made. Second, while Dr. Eastman was in charge of the $150 million NIH study, he was also on the payroll of Warner-Lambert Co. as a consultant. Now, lean back in your easy chair and contemplate this question; do you believe for even a minute, now that you have this information, that this drug would not be approved and inflicted on the American public? Do you believe that there was even the slightest chance that the negative medical reports would be enough to force more study into its effects before it was allowed into the systems of diabetes patients? (Don't worry. It was a rhetorical question. It won't be on the final test.)

Gentle readers, this particular instance is very obviously only the tip of a huge iceberg. This was only disclosed because the number of deaths were impossible to attribute to other causes. You can now rest assured that your probability of receiving "fast track" drugs will increase dramatically in the very near future. If a drug such as Rezulin could be forced out onto an unsuspecting public where it was never even needed in the first place, what other drugs and medications and equipment under the auspices of the FDA will be lying on your pharmacist's counter, waiting to injure or kill you or someone you love. Your life, my friends, no longer is as valuable as the profits and stock holder dividends for the Republicans or the drug industry who owns them.

Gentle readers, this is only one small outgrowth of the horrors that the "Republican Revolution" will eventually cause to destroy this nation. The Right and their owners in Corporate America (as well as the poorly named allies, the Religious Right [who, as I have said over and over, are neither]) have no desire to make this a better world for the citizens of this nation nor the rest of the passengers of this planet. All that they love or cherish or desire is wealth, wealth and even more wealth. They simply care not a whit how many of those people of lesser financial capabilities they murder or maim or just simply harm. You and your family and your children and your children's children are only lowly pawns in the greatest lie ever told. The worst part, by far, is that so many people happily vote to allow their best interests be completely ignored and their lives become worthless, all the while yelling insults and trying to silence those few who are trying so mightily to warn them before it is entirely too late.

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Copyright 12/18/98