Americans Are Paying Billions to Take Drugs That Don’t Work

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From Bloomberg: “One ALS drug made $400 million in sales for its maker. It doesn’t work. A cancer treatment brought in $500 million. That one turned out to have no effect on survival. A blood cancer medication made nearly $850 million before being withdrawn for two of its uses. That drug had been linked to patient deaths years prior.

All of them were allowed to be sold to Americans because of the US Food and Drug Administration’s drive to get new drugs to patients quickly — sometimes even before they’re done testing.

The agency has been under pressure to move faster, a dynamic that has roots in the AIDS crisis when patients were dying while waiting for new medications. But in the years since, it has evolved into an approval process that critics say is driving confusion and could be putting people at risk.

Drug companies are profiting, though. Since 2014, they’ve made at least $3.6 billion in global sales of medications that have either later been shown to be ineffective or had most or all of their uses withdrawn in the US, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

‘We get drugs faster and faster and know less and less about them and pay more and more,’ says Yale University public health professor Gregg Gonsalves, a former AIDS activist who was part of a group that urged the FDA to get quicker — but also more rigorous — in the 1990s.

Patient groups that are now pushing for speedy approvals took the wrong lessons from the HIV crisis, he said. ‘The idea is not to have more drugs. It is to have drugs that work.'”

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7 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a ponzi scheme and a ceremonial.

    And if the mentally ill person dies a premature death because of these drugs (which, of course, no one can prove anyway), then this isn’t bad either. Saves us some pension money. But they’re there, (and since we can’t kill them or so the societal consensus goes), we might as well turn them into cash cows through which we funnel tax payer money to companies.

    At the end, money is about power. So is the entire framework around mental health that explicitly stipulates what is an acceptable being and what isn’t. And if you don’t make the cut as defined by “science”, read: corporate- and government-funded tests based on cost-volume-profit analyses, then you’re either left to die or become a vehicle through which an industrial complex can funnel money.

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    • Really like your turns of phrase and get the gist. Falling into failure when you’re set up for it… how are you supposed to feel? With what cellular oxygen I have left from no choice, I put my microshoes on to walk in the macrosteps which society thinks I can handle. I think change may happen if there is wiggle room for it. It will happen because, for one thing, where a coin is at is beheaded. Or use to buy a new life as a born again, and a tenth you’re worth is better than none. Love that sermoney aye. Keep it free for a God bless y

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  2. And when you turn 65 in the US and Medicare is paying, watch out! Suddenly I started getting demands that I immediately get a host of vaccinations, colon tests, carotid ultrasounds, and fill 3 new prescriptions for statins, a second blood pressure med, and something else I can’t remember. Back when I was seeing a psychiatrist, he constantly switched me from one antidepressant/mood stabilizer/antipsychotic to another. So I know the drug companies were churning them out as fast as possible. I should have asked for a sample pack.

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