Wednesday, July 14, 2004

138 The high cost of FDA approval

I took a beta blocker for about 6 years. Somewhere I read that 100,000 people had died who could have been saved by that class of drugs waiting for it to make its way through FDA approval. From drug discovery to approval for distribution and sale, here is a handy chart. This process typically takes seven to ten years and can cost upwards of $900 million dollars per drug.

Alexander Coombs explains why we will tolerate the death of thousands rather than risk the death of someone from an unsafe drug. It's in our brain function, according to MRIs.
When television programs such as 60 Minutes show people suffering from unintended effects of a drug, we feel enraged and disgusted. We wonder how such tragedies are permitted. Those who suffer and die because of drugs that will never be available to them receive no television coverage; no headlines decry the injustice. They simply pass away untreated, unrecognized victims of an irrational policy.
See his article, "Two Track Mind: How Irrational Policy Endures" June 7, 2004.

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