In 1962 a sleeping pill called thalidomide caused a horrific drug disaster whose emblematic images of limbless and handicapped babies born to distraught mothers linger to this day.The United States Congress swung into action. They wanted to prevent such a tragedy happening again. They were also determined to rein in the marketing excesses of the pharmaceutical industry.Three steps were taken.
First, new drug development was rewarded with product rather than process patents. Second, new drugs were made available on a prescription only basis. Third, new drugs had to prove they worked through controlled trials before they could be marketed.
In 1962 it looked like these steps would make for safer and more effective drugs and ultimately reduced healthcare costs.
In 1962 it looked like these steps would make for safer
and more effective drugs and reduced healthcare costs.
On the 50th anniversary of the 1962 FDA bill enacted by Congress, Pharmageddon shows how these very arrangements have led to an escalating number of drug induced death and injury, how in some areas of medicine drug induced death is the commonest form of death, and how the costs of treating these problems exceed the costs of the entire drugs budget.