Do The Drugs You Take Really Work? And Are They Safe?

A picture of a variety of loose pillsWhen one visits the doctor and drugs are prescribed – one rightfully assumes those drugs are both effective and safe.

After all – we trust the physicians in our lives to make good choices for us.

Did you know that in 1997, Congress passed a law creating a website called clinicaltrials.gov overseen by the National Institutes of Health? The website was established to provide physicians and consumers easy access to information on public and private clinical trials.

In 2007, Congress also passed legislation that required medical researchers to release study findings to this website within one year of a study’s completion.

Soon thereafter, editors at many of the most prestigious medical journals decided to publish only study results that appeared on that website.

Well, in 2008, an FDA medical officer by the name of Turner led a research review looking to determine which research studies on antidepressants actually got published in medical journals.

To his surprise, Turner found that of all studies published on the topic, 94% of the time they reported positive results.

So that’s what all the research must have revealed – correct?

Continue reading “Do The Drugs You Take Really Work? And Are They Safe?” »

Medicine and the Law. What You Must Know.

The Center for Justice and Democracy at the New York School of Law has just released a report on the state of medicine and the law called Medical Malpractice: By The Numbers (September, 2014).  It’s findings are enlightening and disturbing.

Continue reading “Medicine and the Law. What You Must Know.” »

Prescription Drug Deaths On The Rise In U.S.

Drug abuse in the U.S. has more than doubled, coinciding with a tenfold increase in the number of opiate painkiller prescriptions written for patients.We’ve talked a lot in the past about how big corporations like GM, Ford, Guidant and others sometimes act in ways that are helpful to corporate profits but harmful to consumers. Did you know that in just the past decade, people dying from prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has more than doubled, coinciding with a tenfold increase in the number of opiate painkiller prescriptions written for patients?   The CDC reports that prescription drug misuse now kills more people in this country than car accidents and firearms – and calls this current drug epidemic the worst in U.S. history.

Drugs that used to be prescribed for cancer and surgical patients are now routinely prescribed for patients with mild pain – especially older patients.  In just the last eight years, opiate prescriptions written for patients 60 years old and older has increased by 32%.  Sadly and perhaps tellingly – the United States (less than 5% of the world’s population) consumes 80% of the world’s supply of painkillers and more than two million are addicted.

How is this happening?

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Did You Know More People Are Killed By Prescription Drugs Than Car Accidents?

It’s sad but true

What’s even worse – drug companies marketing drugs to consumers that the drug companies know are the cause of injuries and death.

Let’s look at a few recent examples:

 

  • Propulsid:  This drug is a heartburn medication that was made by
    Johnson & Johnson.  From 1993-1998, the company made over $1 billion in sales for this drug, even as the company knew that hundreds of patients were dying from its deadly side effects.  Children were known to be at a particularly high risk of death.  As the number of infant deaths continued to climb, a few folks at Johnson & Johnson began to wonder whether the company should severely restrict Propulsid’s use for children.  This internal inquiry led to a ban on sales for premature infants in some European countries, but senior executives at J&J actually overruled a ban in the United States.  In all, some 300 people died from using this drug before it was finally pulled from market.
  • Trasylol:  This drug was used on open heart patients to prevent blood clotting and was made by Bayer.  Bayer had known for years that the drug could and did cause kidney damage and kidney failure – and yet they continued to market and sell the drug.  A study published in 2006 in the New England Journal of medicine estimated that halting the use of Trasylol would prevent 11,050 cases of kidney failure annually and save more than $1 billion in dialysis costs. Under pressure – Bayer conducted a study confirming the toxic effects of the drug but chose not to inform the FDA.  Under pressure – Bayer halted the sale of the drug in the U.S.
  • Zyprexa:  This drug was introduced to the market by Eli Lilly to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder declaring it “the number one psychotropic in history”.  What Eli Lilly failed to disclose was the fact that the drug had dangerous side effects including diabetes.  In fact, they specifically instructed sales reps to avoid introducing the issue. They even launched a marketing campaign targeting two groups known to be particularly at risk – children and the elderly.  In 2009, the Department of Justice fined Eli Lilly $1.4 billion for its duplicitous marketing of Zyprexa tactics.

Other famously dangerous drugs that caused injury and death include:

  • Fenfluramine/phentermine (Fen-Phen).  Maker: Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES).  Multiple manufacturers
  • Cerivastatin (Baycol). Maker: Bayer
  • Rofecoxib (Vioxx): Maker: Merck
  • Valdecoxib (Bextra): Maker: Pfizer

The cost of adverse drug reactions to society is more than $136 billion annually and adverse drug reactions cause injuries or death in one of five hospital patients.

If you or a loved one is ever the victim of a defective drug or the improper prescription of a drug therapy, call a qualified Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer.  A knowledgeable malpractice attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled hundreds of defective drug and medical malpractice cases over our more than 55 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases including:

  • Top listings in “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Best Law Firms”
  • Top listing by Martindale-Hubbell as a “New England Top Rated AV Preeminent® Law Firm
  • Admission of five of our personal injury lawyers as members in the very prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  The American College is a professional society of Fellows who become members only by invitation, with admission limited to experienced, outstanding trial lawyers who are unquestionably and eminently qualified as actively engaged trial lawyers.  Only 1% of all trial lawyers in any state are offered admission as members to the College… read more.

We have a great team of legal experts dedicated to defective drugs and the improper prescription of drug therapies. Please contact us if we can help you.  The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.