Before the FDA existed, horror stories of adulterated pharmaceuticals occurred: tapeworm diet pills and Bayer heroin kits. But is it any better in 2017?
In 1906 the FDA came into existence to regulate and make safe the food and drugs available in the marketplace. It followed the deaths of 13 children in St. Louis, Missouri, after they received a vaccine containing a diphtheria antitoxin derived from a tetanus-contaminated serum. The FDA was established to stop any chance of misbranding food and drugs, and was signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt.
Before the FDA existed, other horror stories of adulterated pharmaceuticals occurred. One such story was of people widely taking a weight loss pill guaranteed to produce results. The pills did indeed work and sales boomed. Little did the consumer realize that each pill was laced with tapeworm larvae.
With each pill consumed, a tapeworm was consumed. During the early 1900s, there was no cure for tapeworm. The consumer did lose weight but they also lost their lives, being infested in the end with tapeworm that caused intestinal obstructions, cancer, seizures, anaemia, starvation, and neurological conditions.
In the late nineteenth century through to the early 1900s, the Bayer we know today got their foothold in the pharmaceutical industry with their Bayer heroin kits. Marketed to every person of every age – from babies with bronchitis and whooping cough to adults suffering headaches – as “non addictive”, people quickly got addicted and sales flourished.
For a short period of time the FDA did an exceptional job in keeping the consumer safe. But today, the FDA’s key people are those from drug companies acting as agents. The single largest and most powerful lobby in congress is the pharmaceutical lobby. The financial power held has effectively captured the FDA hostage, which now in turn approves pushed drugs as “safe and effective.”
Those research and clinical trials deeming the pharmaceutical “safe” are often skewed to Big Pharma’s benefit. Often trial data submitted is either erased or falsified. Sometimes clinical trials don’t go ahead or researchers are “sponsored” to conduct trials. One non-profit organization concluded in a 2013 report titled “The Clinical Trials Industry in South Africa: Ethics, Rules and Realities” that South African lives were experimented on as international pharmaceutical companies “outsourced” their clinical trials on those poverty stricken and vulnerable.
The situation has reverted itself. Worldwide, prescription drugs are one of the largest killers. In America, in 2013 alone, 23,000 prescription sedative drug overdoses occurred. In 2012, prescription pain reliever deaths amounted to 41,502.
Later figures are increasingly difficult to find, but are suspected to have risen if CDC statistics on prescription painkillers are correct, showing a 400 percent rise in deaths since 1999 to 2013.
What came to be a vast improvement in the safety of our food and drugs in the early 20th century has now back flipped. The FDA used to govern the pharmaceutical companies, but with the pharmaceutical lobby being the largest in congress – having spent $2.6 billion in lobbying between 1998-2012 – who really governs the FDA?
The FDA’s own website readily admits: “The center doesn’t actually test drugs itself, although it does conduct limited research in the areas of drug quality, safety, and effectiveness standards.”
Yet the FDA wars waged against “natural medicines” are all too many to count.