Unethical practices - drug industry

JFFIII jffiii at aol.com
Fri Aug 18 09:08:47 EST 1995

Judging from the content of the letters concerning problems associated
with misuse of prescription drugs under the unfortunate banner of
"unethical practices - drug industry," it is obvious that the problem is
not a lack of ethics by the drug industry but human errors on the part of
all those involved in the medical field.  Dosing is not the cut and dry
issue many may think.  Dosing schedules are determined through preclinical
(animal trials) with animal models that closely mimic human response, then
early stage clinical (human) trials that try to determine the lowest dose
that will provide the desired effect with minimal toxicity.  This is not
an easy task since many side effects will not show up until a product has
been on the market for many years.  Most of those side effects are quite
rare but, as indicated in some of the replies, may be quite serious.  The
immutable fact is, people respond in differet ways and at different levels
to medication.  No drug is risk free--not even the ubiquitous aspirin.  
The drug industry does not indulge in attemps to keep a drug on the market
at any cost.  The company I have had the priviledge of working for for 25
years has voluntarily refused to market many potential "blockbuster" drugs
because we felt the risk to the patients was too great.  Those exceptional
situations that have occurred on rare occasions have been played up by a
self-serving press and hollywood (THE FUGITIVE). 
We try to make sure all physicians and pharmacists are well informed
concerning the use of our products including when not to use them. 
Unfortunately, with so many drugs on the market, it is difficult for
physicians and pharmacists to keep all of that information straight and
mistakes do occur.  Let us not accuse these good and dedicated people of
being selfish crooks intent on poisoning the public for dollars.  Human
errors will occur and sometimes this results in tragedy.  We in the
pharmaceutical industry try to minimize these incidences but, try as we
may, we are not always successful.  We really are all on the same side.  
Lets try to be supportive rather that so accusative.
                                     Best regards,   John

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