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Tell your elected officials to fight drug lobbyists

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Are you as startled as I every time a commercial on TV from an attorney’s office informs us that if we took a certain medication to contact their office because the medication causes all kinds of problems, including death?

Recently, a breast cancer medication was found to be ineffective and has adverse side effects and was pulled off the market by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after eight years. Well, I recently uncovered why these horrible mishaps are happening.

On Sept. 24, I had revision knee replacement. The only medication that helped alleviate the pain was oxycodone. I visited my doctor Nov. 15. He gave me a prescription for oxycodone. We filled a prescription and after taking my dosage there was no relief from the pain.

This was unusual. I took two more and again not an iota of relief. I immediately called the druggist, thinking I was given the wrong medication. It was the right one, but the pharmacist told me, “You are one of the rare people who knows the difference of manufacturers.”

Well, I knew this manufacturer was not putting the ingredients it said it was in this pill.

I immediately called my congressman, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and his constituent liaison. She suggested I send the pills to her so she can send them to the FDA.

I was about to do that when I thought I should send them myself and be assured they was received. It took me two hours until I finally reached a human being to tell my plight to.

I was referred to MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and reporting program. I told the woman at MedWatch I wanted to send my pills in to be tested to ensure the right ingredients were put in the pills by the manufacturer. I was floored when I was told, “The FDA does not test medications.”

I asked how they can put a med on the market without testing it. The answer was another shocker. I was told the manufacturer provides the data.

I immediately called Ackerman’s office with the information. His district administrator was interested in the information and said she will contact the FDA and let me know what the status is.

It appears the fox is watching the chicken coop in the drug industry and our lives are at stake. The drug lobbyists are active in Washington and a reporter should investigate the politicians receiving campaign funding from drug companies. It is time for anyone who takes medication to contact their congressional representative and ask for an investigation of the FDA.

I realize there are many lobbyists and much money spent on having companies get away with a lot. If the FDA does not test, then they are allowing companies to get away with murder. This is an issue that one person cannot advocate for. It has always been the case that people think someone else will do it. If you care about your children, grandchildren, spouse or yourself — people who take medications — jump on this issue and ask for documents that ensure the FDA tests medications it gives its approval to.

The only time it looks into a medication is when there is a complaint, adverse effect or death. Does this sound right to you? If not, call your representative and demand documents ensuring the FDA is protecting the population by testing the drugs before they are put on the market.

This is the response I received from the MedWatch after receiving my complaint about a medication I questioned:

“Dear Reporter:

“Thank you for remitting your report to MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

“This acknowledgement confirms that your report was received. Reports are added to a postmarking safety database with similar reports and reviewed by the FDA’s postmarking safety staff. Voluntary reports are essential for ensuring the continued safety of FDA-regulated products. One or two well-documented case reports may provide an early signal of unexpected problems and lead to additional evaluation. This may result in FDA regulatory actions that improve the safety of the products used in patient care each day.

“You may be contacted by an FDA staff member if additional information on your report is needed.

“Sincerely yours,

“MedWatch”

This explains how a cancer drug was on the market for eight years until it was found not to work.

Joyce Shepard

Bayside

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