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Fed up with the FDA

A Side of Blather
Christopher Mullally
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I’m not quite sure I trust the FDA. Their purpose is supposed to be protection of all of the American citizenry against drugs on the market. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

I remember reading about something that initially made me suspicious a couple of years ago, the FDA deliberately took steps to hide information regarding foods that could be beneficial. The Cherry Growers Association did some double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that showed that tart cherries had pain-killing qualities, and furthermore, “Tart cherries may reduce the risk of colon cancer because of the anthocyanins and cyanidin contained in the cherry.” So then, with a lack of innovative ways to sell cherries, they published the studies in peer-reviewed journals and began to use this new and groundbreaking, and potentially lifesaving information to market them. Personally, I fail to see how this could be anything but beneficial to the consumer.

The FDA and its draconian mandates did not like this at all. They banned this information from appearing on the company’s websites and sent out 29 warning letters to companies that market cherries. It even threatened to raid orchards of growers who marketed using this information. The best part is that the FDA didn’t deny the results of the study the cherry growers were promoting ” instead they insisted that the cherry growers would have to actually submit a “new drug” application.



Another quick quote from the FDA, “The FDA is responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.” I’m glad they imparted that philosophy onto the cherry growers.

There are cases where people with specific sleep disorders ” which prevented sleep for up to four days ” were essentially “cured” by GHB. But, since that has been labeled as a “date rape” drug, it is completely banned. Some may say that’s the right thing to do, if it can prevent violence, just like banning medicinal marijuana. However, the active constituent in marijuana, THC, has been synthesized into a drug called Marinol, and is widely used for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma patients.



I am limited by space here, but would like to list one more recent, completely atrocious and horrific example of ineptitude by the FDA. This is completely aside from Thalidomide, Vioxx, Avandia, Aspartame, and Orobilix.

This involves the drug Trasylol, made by Bayer, which is used to stop bleeding during open-heart surgery. It had been given to as many as a third of all heart bypass patients in the United States at the height of its use over a period of many years, according to a report by Dr. Dennis Mangano.

This same doctor who published his study in January 2006, which was confirmed by German drug makers, said that about 22,000 lives could have been saved if the drug was recalled when his study was released. But it wasn’t. His study linked this drug to kidney failure requiring dialysis and increased morbidity and mortality.

My question is, how was this drug even allowed on the market? Doesn’t the FDA do its own risk assessment and studies on the drugs submitted, or does it just go on the word of the pharmaceutical manufacturers? I certainly hope they don’t still assume drug dealers are reliable sources of information. (Cigarettes are good for you, remember? Doctor recommended and all that?)

Now, I don’t blame the FDA for everything, I just find preventable deaths especially heartbreaking. I wish there were more stringent protocol in place for new drugs, and more vigilant monitoring of the food supply rather than the Band-Aid measures of what seems to be in place today. This week we just had an enormous meat recall after horrible and abusive conditions were revealed; the E. coli in spinach, etc. Shouldn’t the welfare of our citizenry and what we ingest be first and foremost?

I would love to be able to write about this for quite a bit more, giving more tangible examples, but for now I think we just need to realize that this is a somewhat broken system. I don’t want Monsanto making choices about what myself or others can eat because they deemed it “safe.” I think we all know that these monstrous corporations could care less about the average human being. It’s the almighty dollar they are after, and it’s up to all of us to decide where to spend it.

Christopher Mullally welcomes comments at christophermullally@gmail.com.


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