Walgreen's has been ordered to pay $21 million to the family of a girl who was mistakenly given the wrong prescription drug at a Walgreen's pharmacy. The girl cannot walk or feed herself and was born prematurely. Not surprisingly, the girl is on several medications, and when one prescription was filled with the wrong drug, the girl ended up in the emergency room and, her family claims, suffered physical and mental disabilities as a result.
I mention this story not to necessarily focus on Walgreen's and this particular young girl, even though her story is tragic, but rather to point out that while the FDA is arguing that drugs from Canada are unsafe for Americans, they routinely fail to mention the hundreds if not thousands of mishaps that occur each day in the United States as pharmacies mistakenly give patients the wrong drugs at the wrong doses -- often with horrific consequences.
There's no doubt that pharmaceutical mistakes are commonplace. If you are a pharmacist or you know a pharmacist, they will no doubt concur. Part of the problem, of course, is that doctors are still scribbling prescriptions on pieces of paper rather than using a modern system of communication such as a text messaging system. Another part of the problem is that there is such a lack of pharmacists in the United States, due to extremely high demand for prescription drugs, that many pharmacists are forced to work unreasonable overtime hours -- which impairs their quality control ability. If you put a pharmacist on a work schedule that has them pushing 65 or 70 hours a week, you can naturally expect to see some errors as a result.
The point here is that U.S. pharmacies are just as dangerous as pharmacies in Canada or the UK or any other developed nation. There's nothing sacrosanct about the safety of pharmacies just because they happen to be geographically located in the United States, and even though the FDA is fond of pointing out the dangers of pharmacies located outside U.S. borders, it neglects to mention that those exact same dangers exist at pharmacies right here in the United States.
Another point in all of this is that it is well-known in the medical community that prescription drug mistakes cause tens of thousands of fatalities in the United States each year. This fact is not even disputed by anyone who is up on the latest research. What's even more shocking is that 100,000 Americans are killed each year by the correct prescription drugs, and another 2 million are injured. That is, even when a person's prescription is filled correctly, with the right drug at the right dose, and they take it as directed, they still can be killed by that drug, and in fact this happens over 100,000 times each year, right here in the United States, right now.
The big problem with all of this, then, is not that one young girl was tragically harmed by a single mistake on a prescription filled by Walgreen's -- the big picture is that our entire nation is being subjected to what can rightly be called a chemical assault that injures, kills, and even maims literally millions of people each year, right here in the land of the free. With all that being said, the entire FDA focus on so-called drug safety is really just a distraction from the bigger issues. The FDA is claiming that a drug is safe if it's the correct drug and if it comes from a U.S. pharmaceutical company. What they don't tell you is that virtually all prescription drugs are unsafe for human consumption. They all interfere with normal human metabolism, and no healthy human being has any need whatsoever for even a single prescription drug or a single over-the-counter drug.