Our Daily Meds

A Sample of Revelations from Our Daily Meds
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100,000 DIE EVERY YEAR FROM SIDE EFFECTS
An estimated 100,000 Americans die every year from the side effects of prescription drugs they took just as the doctor directed. This is more than die from diabetes and twice as many as those who die in traffic accidents.

DRUG DEATHS ARE HIDDEN
Many of these deaths are hidden and never reported on death certificates. This means that families may not learn the truth about what happened to their loved ones. It also means that doctors keep prescribing drugs that may cause more harm than good.

DOCTORS GET PAID BY DRUG COMPANIES
It is illegal for radio disc jockeys to take cash from music companies, but when it comes to medications that mean life and death, doctors can legally take hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug companies whose products they prescribe.

DOCTORS WRITE PRESCRIPTIONS TO PLEASE MANUFACTURERS
Virtually all doctors now take gifts or cash payments from the drug industry. Studies show that even the smallest of gifts – a pen or a coffee mug – makes the doctor want to please the company by writing more prescriptions.

DRUG COMPANIES PAY FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION
The drug companies now pay for 65 to 80 percent of the education physicians receive after medical school. Because of this, doctors wind up learning about and prescribing drugs that boost the corporate bottom line even though these medicines may not be best for their patients.

DRUG SPENDING SKYROCKETS
The industry’s strategy of focusing on promotion rather than scientific invention has been exceedingly profitable. While Americans roughly doubled their spending on new automobiles between 1980 and 2003 and tripled their spending on clothing, they increased their spending on prescription drugs 17 times over.

MANY MEDICINES DON’T WORK AS ADVERTISED
Consider antidepressants like Zoloft and Paxil, for example. In about half of all studies of these medicines, a sugar pill worked just as well or better than the drug.

DRUG COMPANIES SPEND BILLIONS TO EARN BILLIONS MORE
Pharmaceutical executives say they must spend as much as $1 billion to promote a drug by the end of its second year on the market if they want it to become what they call “a megablockbuster” – a big-selling medicine like Nexium, Lipitor, or Plavix.

COMPANIES DESIGN TESTS TO FAVOR THEIR PRODUCTS
Almost all scientific studies of a drug are paid for by its manufacturer. There is plenty of evidence that the companies often design these studies in ways that exaggerate a drug’s benefits while minimizing its risks.

MADISON AVENUE GHOSTWRITES MEDICAL JOURNAL ARTICLES
An untold number of articles in medical journals – the very scientific publications that doctors depend on to stay informed – are initially drafted by Madison Avenue advertising agencies or other marketing firms working behalf of the pharmaceutical industry.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS CAUSE HIGHWAY ACCIDENTS
The aggressive marketing harms everyone, even those who don’t take medicines. For example, there is increasing evidence that our roads have become less safe as Americans take more pills whose side effects can impair them behind the wheel. A recent study found that prescription drugs may have played a role in 26 percent of the crashes of large trucks.

DRUG MARKETING HAS LED TO INCREASED DRUG ABUSE
Aggressive marketing by manufacturers of narcotic drugs like OxyContin has caused an epidemic of overdose deaths, a fast rise in drug abuse, and a wave of related crime. Children have been hurt the most. In a little more than  ten years, abuse of prescription drugs by teens has tripled.