Money is not the root of all evil, it’s the love of it that’s the root, and that has and is slowly becoming more and more of our culture here in the United States where especially big money is at risk.
Today, let’s talk about something disturbing I saw/heard on a TV commercial and what I think that means concerning Big Pharmaceuticals and the Food & Drug Administration.
There’s a drug named Risperdal used for long-term treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia which has become the focus of a class action lawsuit nationwide. Before I go into details as to why and what it is that absolutely disgusts me about it, we all know class action lawsuits aren’t a new concept. All you have to do is turn on your TV to see them all over, and almost all associated with products approved for use by the FDA, each with more horrific possible side effects than the conditions they are treating. But Risperdal may take the cake.
This particular prescription medication is being blamed for what’s called gynecomastia in young men and boys. What is gynecomastia, you ask?
Gynecomastia is the development of female breasts on a male subject.
Now it seems to me, if I were suffering from bipolar disorder or some form of manic depression and I were a young man, developing breasts wouldn’t be exactly what I had in mind for a cure. And isn’t this exactly what the entire Pharmaceutical/Financial Complex has become about anyway?
Here’s how it works.
A drug company develops what they believe is a groundbreaking treatment and per FDA guidelines puts it under study. In the meantime, there’s always the threat someone will beat you to the market, or even worse to the patent office, so the process is rushed along using lobbyists and campaign election money until, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, you walk in and your local general practitioner offers you samples.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the actuaries have been on lockdown for over a year trying to determine, based on the known side effects of their company’s product, the percentage of those on the drug who will contract or suffer from these adverse side effects, and the cost effectiveness of when to pull the plug and settle out of court.
Don’t look so shocked. The day the courts and legislators decided it was acceptable for pharmaceutical companies to advertise their wares on television this problem has been steadily growing. The boon to this industry from advertising has seen exponential growth in profits and an alarming number of newly FDA approved prescription medications and implants flood the marketplace, all promising some amount of relief or miracle.
The pitfall is the opening of the marketing of drugs to the public and the cash cow that was created, not to mention the need to get there firstest with the mostest. The ability to present huge profits to stockholders leads to record bonuses for execs, which trickles down to larger salaries for regional management, eventually making its way to the sales reps in the form of larger commission payments.
What has been created is an endless cycle of new treatments followed by warnings and then eventually class action lawsuits where the public is crying out to right the wrongs of nameless, faceless corporations who hold no conscience, only a bottom line.
We have a drug problem in this country, and I’m not referring to marijuana, crack, meth or heroin. The drug problem in this country stems from the need to prescribe everything away and the over medication of an entire generation. Walk into a room and swing a cat by the tail and nine out of 10 people you hit have at least one prescription and counting.
They banned cigarette advertising in the 1970s, and there are no surprises where that’s concerned, but I know this for sure: I see these ads and the money generated at the public’s expense, not to mention the sometimes debilitating adverse effects, and I have come to what I think is a life changing decision.
Next time, I’d just rather have a headache.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.