The next thing that should be done in reforming the FDA is to reverse some of the dangerous and poorly made decisions put in place by the FDA over the last few years. The most obvious of these is the legalization of direct-to-consumer advertising by drug companies. This decision was made in 1997 and it allowed drug companies to place ads on television, in magazines, newspapers, billboards and other media with the purported goal of "educating" consumers about prescription drugs. And yet the very premise is laughable. No reasonable person could possibly believe that drug companies should advertising prescription drugs to patients who don't have medical qualifications to even understand if they should use those drugs in the first place. The idea of pushing these drugs to patients so that they go to their doctors and request them by name is medically reckless. It has no medical basis whatsoever. It is clearly just a ploy that was approved by the FDA to financially benefit the drug companies at the expense of public health.
It is this direct-to-consumer advertising, in fact, that is largely responsible for the over-medication of people with dangerous drugs such as Vioxx. This direct-to-consumer advertising continues today, and it is adding to the problem by creating an over-medicated nation where patients think they have to make a list of advertised drugs, then go to their doctor and request them by name. Many times, patients don't even have any idea what these drugs do -- they just see these images of happy, healthy people on television who have been hired to play roles in these drug advertisements, and the patients of course think they want to feel that way too, so they go to their doctor and request these drugs.
The whole system is absurd. First of all, people who take prescription drugs aren't healthier in the long run anyway. The more drugs you take, the worse you get, because every drug has unsafe side effects as recently admitted by the FDA. Every drug you take makes you less healthy in the long run. There is no prescription drug that is as good for you as changing your lifestyle, engaging in physical exercise, and making healthier food choices to prevent chronic disease. Prescription drugs have absolutely no place as lifelong chemicals to be consumed by human beings. At best, they should only be used for short term acute disorders as stop-gap measures to help people survive while they make lifestyle changes that eliminate the underlying cause of their health problems in the first place.
The next thing that should be addressed at the FDA is the dissolution of the financial arrangements between pharmaceutical companies and the FDA. Today, pharmaceutical companies actually pay the FDA to review their drugs. This turns drug companies into customers, and the more customers the FDA pleases, the more money the agency earns, meaning it can grow its own staff and expand its power base. So of course it's going to be in the long term interests of key FDA decision makers to please its customers. Those customers are the drug companies.
This financial relationship must end. The FDA should be funded solely by taxpayer dollars, not by drug companies themselves. This would allow the FDA the neutrality and the independent viewpoint from which it could make an honest safety assessment of prescription drugs.
One more thing that needs to be addressed is the drug side effects reporting mechanism, because today there is absolutely no requirement whatsoever for doctors to report toxic side effects from prescription drugs to the FDA. In fact, there is not even a requirement for drug companies to report their information to the FDA when they learn about toxic side effects in drugs. The reporting system is 100% voluntary. And that means it's nearly a miracle when any drug accumulates enough negative information to actually be banned by the FDA, because enough people have to volunteer that information, and it has to accumulate over time to the point where the FDA can no longer ignore it. This is a poor system for protecting the public health. The reporting of side effects from prescription drugs should be mandatory. This is common sense, and drug companies should be held criminally responsible if they fail to reveal evidence they have about the negative effects of prescription drugs.
So in effect, to look at this whole situation, we have one big problem, and that's the FDA as it exists today. It is broken. It is discredited. It is operated by ethically disadvantaged individuals who deserve to be prosecuted for not just endangering, but actually killing literally hundreds of thousands of American citizens. That is not an exaggeration of the statistics. But even if we create an alternative to the FDA, we still have three big problems that need to be addressed right away.
The first is direct-to-consumer advertising. The second is the funding of the FDA. And the third is the drug side effects reporting system. These three fundamental problems need to be addressed immediately if we are to live in a nation where we aren't killing our citizens with our own products that are actually safety approved by the government itself.
To put all this into perspective, keep in mind that prescription drugs have killed far more Americans, in fact thousands of times more Americans, than all terrorists combined. If you think terrorists have committed crimes against the American people, then what do you think about the pharmaceutical industry that kills 100,000 people per year according to the journal of the American Medical Association, or as many as 750,000 people per year if you agree with the "Death By Medicine" numbers that also include medical mistakes? And now with the knowledge that many of these deaths could have been prevented had the people at the FDA been doing their jobs, or had the people at drug companies been practicing even basic human ethics, then is this not a case of crimes against humanity?
Is this not a crime against the American people that should be immediately investigated and rectified? Frankly, I've seen far more law enforcement efforts exerted towards catching one murderer who has killed one person, and yet here we have an entire agency, a group of powerful people, whose negligent actions have killed hundreds of thousands of people, and there has yet to be serious law enforcement action initiated against them. Just because these people are government employees should not immunize them from criminal prosecution. In fact, I would say that as government employees, they should be held to a higher standard of ethics and protecting the sanctity of human life, because they hold substantial power over that life. And it is precisely this power that they have abused over a period of many years in order to achieve their own selfish aims of power, control and financial profit.
If all the people who had been killed by prescription drugs were able to rise up from their graves and march on Washington right now, we would see a revolution in medicine overnight. But unfortunately, they lie in their graves unable to speak the truth about what really needs to be done, and thus it is up to us, the survivors of this chemical nightmare, to take responsibility for this situation and make sure that we and our children are no longer harmed by this reckless "Fraud and Drug Administration" that has lost sight of its mission and any sense of value for human life.