Medication Errors: Researching Fraud

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A terrifying article in Slate magazine goes to the very core of problems with American medicine. Charles Seife, a university professor, and his students, went through the database of the FDA inspection files to determine just how common medical malfeasance is. Not only did they find countless examples of doctors being responsible for death and dismemberment, but they discovered a pervasive issue that allows dangerous medications to become available to the public when they should not be.

One type of report available in the FDA inspection files details investigations into sites where medical research is performed. These reports show that even when the FDA finds significant issues with the research (significant enough issues that the entire research has to be questioned), the scientists are still allowed to issue the reports and drug companies can use those findings as a basis for demonstrating the safety of their products.

The exact details are stunning:

  • 600 research projects failed FDA inspection
  • Of those 600, only 100 cases were not so heavily redacted that the researchers could determine which product was involved
  • 78 published articles were based on flawed studies
  • At least one medication was approved by the FDA despite the fact that half of its research sites failed inspection

It is clear that we cannot depend on the FDA alone to keep us safe from the claims of the drug companies. When the FDA allows medications to be approved even when half of the research to support them is fabricated, we are left with only one way to keep dangerous medications off the market. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a medication, please contact an attorney. The drug companies will not start to listen until it starts to affect their profits.