Does an FDA label mean that a pharmaceutical drug is safe to use?

Does an FDA label mean that a pharmaceutical drug is safe to use?

Nowadays, it is all too easy to see an “FDA approved” label on a product and automatically assume that it is safe to use. For many Nevada residents, knowing that the federal organization responsible for protecting public health feels a particular product is safe and effective is all the reassurance they need.

In actuality, the term “FDA approved” is not a guarantee that a product is harmless. A recent investigation conducted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today found that the FDA’s approval does not ensure a safe or effective drug. It further asserts that some FDA-approved diabetes drugs have been linked to more than 3,000 deaths and more than 20,000 hospitalizations in the last decade alone. These numbers are particularly troubling to consumers, as well as to a Reno product liability lawyer.

The ineffectiveness of many diabetes drugs

 The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel also reported that, of the 30 new diabetes drugs introduced between 2004 and 2013, not one was proven to ease common disease complications such as heart attacks, blindness or strokes. That’s not to say Americans were not trying. Drug market research firm IMS Health reports that in 2013 alone, $23 billion was spent on diabetes drugs. The firm notes that this figure is higher than the annual revenue of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball League and the National Football League combined.

The truth about surrogate measures

 A Reno product liability lawyer often fields questions from clients about how ineffective prescription drugs are still given the green light by the FDA. This is due to what is known in the industry as a “surrogate measure.” This is defined as a temporary substitution for the outcome that medical professionals and patients hope to eventually see. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today study referenced a surrogate measure commonly seen with new cancer drugs. Even if a new cancer drug has not been proven to prolong life, it can still receive FDA approval as long as it decreases the size of tumors. The study further concluded that nearly 75 percent of the 54 new cancer pharmaceuticals released from 2004 and 2013 were passed due to surrogate measures.

Seek facts that go beyond the FDA’s approval

 While modern medicine brings with it abundant benefits, it is not without its own downfalls. When taking any new medication, a Reno product liability lawyer recommends preparing a list of questions to ask the prescribing physician beforehand. Inquiries about potential side effects, how long a drug has been used or whether it has been shown to interact negatively with other medications are all important considerations. Patients should also check with a variety of sources, and consider securing a second opinion, before taking a new drug.