So… the US Supreme Court has ruled that 80% of all drugs manufactured in America are now completely exempt from legal liability from fraud, mislabeling, side effects, and accidental death (though only generic drugs are strictly exempt). What? You didn’t notice that sneaky ruling during the well-publicized hoopla over the DOMA decision? Well, it happened.
Right on time, since the FDA was recently busted for approving a GENERIC psych drug—Wellbutrin XL— in a dosage that simply doesn’t work. So a lot of people forked over a lot of cash— for years— on untested dosages of medication that DIDN’T DO ANYTHING AT ALL.
Whoops! Good thing the drug companies can’t get sued for it now. Thanks, Supreme Court!
The FDA is riddled with politics, conflicts of interest and outright corruption, and is a nightmare of bungling and self-dealing among higher-ups. In 2009, just as President Obama was taking office, nine FDA scientists and physicians sent him a letter openly stating and giving examples of systemic FDA corruption being perpetrated at its highest levels (the nine signers had their names blacked out for fear of reprisals). The FDA itself formally authenticated the letter, essentially admitting to its own corruption. The letter graphically detailed how the FDA was “fundamentally broken” and begged Obama to step in and reform the organization.
It didn’t happen. Six months later, Obama appointed Michael Taylor as a senior adviser for the FDA. Taylor formerly served as a vice president for Monsanto, and— while previously serving as FDA Food Safety Czar— he had allowed genetically modified organisms (mostly produced by—yep, Monsanto) to enter the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety or risks. Taylor’s appointment was a strong indication that the same old foxes would be entrusted to guard to henhouse. Of course. After all, pharmaceutical and agricultural companies spend the most money lobbying members of BOTH political parties.
Similar industry/government conflict of interest is common. Example: FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford approved Merck Pharmaceuticals’ Vioxx (a drug now linked to 140,000 heart attacks and 60,000 deaths). He then resigned from the FDA and went to work as senior council for Policy Directions Inc… the PR firm of Merck Pharmaceuticals. Both the FDA and the drug industry are dominated by a paradigm of corruption which elevates monetary profit over public safety. Since as far back as the 1950s the FDA has ignored and denied potential danger when approving lucrative medical products— as happened when it approved Upjohn‘s antibiotic Panalba in 1957, despite clear evidence that 20% of Panalba users suffered severe side-effects. Upjohn earned enormous profits.
Drug companies and the FDA essentially work in tandem to get dangerous (but profitable) drugs and medical devices onto the market: the FDA gets kickbacks (expensive drug and medical device application fees) while the drug industry rakes in billions for products that should never have been approved.
On the other hand, a recent FDA international crackdown— Operation Pangea VI— resulted in the closure of more than 1,600 online pharmacies, seizing more than $41 million worth of illegal drugs. And by “illegal” I mean counterfeit drugs that cut into drug company profits on their highly secret, patented formulas. So at least when it comes to protecting Americans from unsafe drugs purchased from someone OTHER than their drug company bosses, the FDA is certainly johnny-on-the-spot.
I suspect Teddy Roosevelt is rolling in his grave at the sad state of the protective organization he created. As a health organization, their situation couldn’t be more ironic… since the merest thought of the corruption at the FDA makes me sick.