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Movie Review: Prescription for Disaster PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Wednesday, 15 March 2006 00:00

A government agency approves a drug that it had known in advance could be deadly. A scientist turned whistle-blower is bribed and threatened not to reveal what he knows. Tens of thousands of people die as a result. Sounds like the latest Hollywood political thriller by Stephen Gaghan writer-director of Syriana or Jeffrey Caine screenplay writer of the Constant Gardener. No – it’s a sit on the edge-of-your-seat, hard-hitting documentary by Gary Null and Associates. 

This documentary starts off with a bang – former Associate Director for Science and Medicine at the Office of Drug Safety at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) turned whistle blower David J. Graham, MD, MPH testifies before Congress in November 2004. 

“Vioxx is a profound tragedy and a regulator failure. I would argue the FDA as currently configured is incapable of protecting America against another Vioxx. We are virtually defenseless. It is important that this committee and the American people understand that what happened with Vioxx is really a symptom of something far more dangerous to the safety of the American people. Simply put, the FDA and the Centers for Drug Evaluation and Research are broken.”

“We’re faced with maybe the single greatest drug safety catastrophe in the history of this country. I strongly believe this should have been and largely could have been avoided, but it wasn’t and over 100,000 Americans have paid dearly for this failure. In my opinion the FDA has let the American people down.” 

Then speaking in this documentary Dr. Graham continues, “Since November when I appeared before the Senate Finance Committee and announced to the world that FDA was incapable of protecting America from unsafe drugs or another Vioxx very little has changed on the surface and substantively nothing has changed. I believe that FDA is unduly influenced by industry and that that undue influence is in part the result of industry money funding the FDA operations.” 

A cover story on one of the leading medical journals reads, “Who owns the FDA?” bringing to the fore the “massive crises of legitimacy at the FDA”. In the documentary we learn that 80% of the FDA monies are spent on drug approvals and only a small 5% on drug safety. On top of that, the FDA receives 50% of its money to review drugs directly from the pharmaceutical industry, which critics charge corrupts the entire drug approval process. 

Meet David Cox, MD whose life was forever changed after suffering a stroke from what he believes could only have been Vioxx. Again Dr. Graham, “FDA knew there was a problem with Vioxx. They knew it was a big problem back in mid-2000. They did nothing about it.” 

According to Shane Ellison, MS. C, pharmaceutical chemist, “As a drug chemist I discovered that FDA drug approval wasn’t based on science. It was based on financial conflict where 6 out of 10 scientists who have financial conflicts on interest say ‘yes’ this drug should be approved.” 

Learn how many of the people that interact with doctors to promote the products are salespeople with little or no medical background. Kathleen Slatery-Moschkaa, former pharmaceutical salesperson, “they’re not pharmacists, they’re not nurses, they often are business majors, music majors, drama majors – and they’re telling your doctors how to prescribe drugs to you the patient.” 

Find out about the massive profits on some drugs. 

Lipitor, 20 mg, their cost $5.80, your cost $272 a 4,500% markup.
Prozac, 20 mg, their cost $0.11, your cost $242 a 224,000% markup.
Xanax, 1 mg, their cost $0.02, your cost $136 a 569,000% markup. 

But it’s not all bad news. We meet Jim Rooney who was drinking 20 cups of coffee a day and suffering from fatigue. He could hardly walk 3 blocks without being out of breath. After suffering some dizzy spells he checked with his doctor where he learned he was facing a possible angioplasty. 

Instead of going on medication, Jim describes that moment as a “wake up call” and began his “road to recovery”. He gave up the coffee, the sugar, and milk. He gave up meat and increased his fruits and vegetables. He started juicing, taking supplements and exercising. Slowly his energy level, as well as his mental energy level, began to rise. 

At 66, after facing a possible angioplasty, Jim finished the New York City marathon in 2003. Jim shows us all what you can do if you make the choice to change – to be healthy – to retake your life.

Source: Documentary – Prescription for Disaster


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:21