Unsafe drugs: drug companies just for profit, not for your wellbeing?

drugsThe “trade treaty,” the TPP, in front of Congress now, will, if passed, eventually morph into a close-knit international collective of government agencies that collaborate on medical-drug “safety.”

Translation: the US FDA and Health Canada, and the Australian TGA, and the New Zealand MEDSAFE, and the medical regulatory agencies of Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, and Peru will: declare dangerous drugs to be safe. Together. On behalf of the corporations who manufacture them. Among other corporate benefits, the TPP will allow pharmaceutical companies to extend the life of patents on drugs. And those drugs will be exported and imported, from country to country, with far less oversight re their destructive health effects, because, in phase one, drug companies will be able to sue governments, in private tribunals, for “restraint of free trade,” when the specter of drug-dangers is raised and drug-imports are refused and turned away.

Case in point. One out of hundreds. Vioxx, a drug to treat pain and arthritis. Manufacturer: Merck. Approved by the US FDA as safe and effective in 1999. Before it was withdrawn from the market in 2004, Merck pocketed in the vicinity of $12.5 billion in global sales. Finally, after 10,000 individual suits were filed against Merck, and 190 class-actions, and a 2010 US federal case, Merck paid out roughly $8 billion in judgments.Once Vioxx was taken off the market, it was revealed it had caused between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of heart disease—and between 30 and 40 percent of these cases were probably fatal. These are very conservative estimates. How had that mass destruction happened? In America it was through the efforts of the US FDA, the agency responsible for certifying medicines as safe and effective before they are released for public use. Once the FDA decides a drug is safe and effective, the US company that manufactures it can, under the TPP, demand that every other TPP country accept that judgment as well. For instance, if the US FDA claimed Vioxx was safe, then Merck, the US company that manufactured it, could sell it to the 12-member countries of the TPP, and if there were any government refusals on the grounds of safety, Merck could sue the refusing government in a secret corporate court and win. Even though Vioxx is deadly.

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” (Marcia Angell, MD, “Drug Companies and Doctors: A story of Corruption.” NY Review of Books, Jan. 15, 2009.)

excerpted from: http://bit.ly/1AGequY

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