This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
When it comes “how you’re going to die,” many people fear things like airplane crashes or shark attacks, even though statistics show that deaths from these events are very rare. Conversely, far too many people mistakenly believe that certain common aspects of everyday life are extremely safe — when, in reality, this is often far from the truth.
Once such daily ritual that is far more dangerous than many people believe is taking properly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. Popping pills on a daily basis to “improve health” has become far too common for many Americans. In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 50% of all Americans take a pharmaceutical drug daily. When you isolate senior citizens, the number shoots up to an astonishing 90%. And perhaps even more troubling, 20% of children take a pharmaceutical drug.
At the same time, statistics are showing that deaths from pharmaceutical drugs are rising at an alarming rate. But don’t take my word for it. Just Google the term “pharmaceutical drugs kill” and you’ll see headlines from major news organizations such as Fox and CNN that read:
“Prescription drugs 62,000 times more likely to kill …”
“Prescription drugs kill 6200% more Americans …”
“Prescription Drugs Kill 300 Percent More Americans than Illegal Drugs…”
“Prescription drugs are now killing more people than traffic accidents…”
“Prescription Drug Deaths Skyrocket…”
“Prescription drugs kill one person every 19 minutes…”
“Prescription Drugs Now Kill More People Than Heroin And Cocaine Combined…”
Sadly, most people don’t know that properly prescribed prescription drugs kill over 100,000 Americans each year. (This excludes prescription drug abuse, which causes this number to skyrocket even higher.) This is more than or equal to the number of people who die from accidents, Alzheimer’s, influenza and diabetes.
One reason that most people are in the dark about the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of how these drugs get tested and approved. Too many people believe that the FDA has some kind of rigorous testing and evaluation system. Sadly, this is far from the truth.
The current system puts almost the entire burden to test the safety of a new pharmaceutical drug on the developer of that drug. And since developing a new drug costs billions of dollars, you can imagine the immense pressure on the entire organization to make sure that drug gets to market. Making things worse are the fees that the pharmaceutical companies pay the FDA, which amount to about 20% of its total budget. Now, I’m no expert on organizational structure, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this system is inherently flawed and corrupt.
What’s the final product of this cozy relationship between Big Pharma and the FDA? It’s simple — dangerous drugs being put on the market, leaving us hapless consumers as real world guinea pigs. Simply put, the big drug companies profit and we die.
One of the most infamous examples of this is what happened with the painkiller Vioxx. It’s widely known that Merck engaged in several illegal and dubious strategies to influence the research backing the safety of Vioxx. Sadly, this easily tricked the FDA who approved the drug, only to remove it from the shelves after it killed approximately 60,000 people — more than the number of brave soldiers who died in Vietnam. Will we be building a memorial for the Vioxx victims?
The latest example of the flaws in the process for getting pharmaceutical drugs approved by the FDA is the diabetes drug Avandia. A Senate Finance Committee investigation showed that GlaxoSmithKline intentionally hid reliable scientific data clearly showing that Avandia significantly increases the risk of heart attack. Naturally this came to light after the FDA approved the drug, and it didn’t take long before it was linked to 83,000 heart attacks and deaths, according to the FDA’s own scientists.
If you think Vioxx and Avandia are flukes, think again. There are dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of drugs killing people every day, because their makers provided flawed, biased and corrupt data to the FDA. And since the FDA is unequipped, incapable or unwilling to change the system, more and more people are going to die.
If you believe your doctor provides the final line of defense for you, think again. Despite good intentions, guess who trained your doctor on all of the “benefits” of the drug they are prescribing to you? You guessed it — the company that stands to make billions of dollars from its sale. Your doctor got duped (and probably got a free golf trip in Hawaii). Meanwhile, you got a potentially harmful drug that may put your health in jeopardy.
The bottom line — don’t trust that pharmaceutical drugs are safe. Big Pharma has a long, sad track record of lies, corruption and deceit, all in the name of profits. And the FDA’s system to approve drugs is as flawed as perhaps any function of government.
My advice: If your doctor prescribes you a drug, take your health into your own hands! Consider lifestyle changes, look for natural alternatives, get second opinions and do your own research. Only take the drug after you are 100% certain it is safe and in your best interests. After all — your life may depend on it!