Sadly, there is a large disconnect between the pharmaceutical industry and having a high standard of ethics. Many believe that the huge profits that the pharmaceutical industry makes gets largely spent on research and development for new and better types of medication that will eventually improve and save the lives of millions of people suffering in the U.S. and around the world. Unfortunately, this may not be the case, as a new study suggests. This leaves much to be desired in terms of the safety and usefulness of many prescription drugs. Not including overdoses and abuse, every year prescription drugs cause 2.74 million serious adverse reactions, 1.9 million hospitalizations, and 128,000 deaths to people who were taking their medication as prescribed by their doctor.
Pharmaceutical Industry is Market-Driven as Opposed to Driven by Saving Lives
A study published by York University in 2008 found that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends nearly twice as much on advertising and marketing (promotion) as it does on research and development. Total sales in 2004 was $235.4 billion. And, in terms of sales percentages, the pharmaceutical industry spent 24.4% of sales dollars on promotion and just 13.4% on research and development that year. What this shows is that sadly, the pharmaceutical industry is sales driven, with the health, wellbeing, and lives of the people who depend on medication to function taking a back seat.
Lack of Research and Development Funding Leads to Unsafe Products
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for testing drugs before they are released on the market, but because the pharmaceutical industry is so large and produces so many drugs every year, the FDA simply cannot keep up. The industry’s own testing is rushed, underfunded, and often biased. Drug companies knowingly release unsafe medication, make billions, and suffer relatively minor punishment years later when the truth is revealed. In fact, there is a one if five chance that a prescription drug will have negative effects on its user.
Take the pharmaceutical company Fresenius, for example. Fresenius is one of the country’s largest blood dialysis drug manufacturers and also has thousands of dialysis clinics across the country for people suffering from nonfunctioning kidneys. The company made billions of dollars by knowingly selling two unsafe products, GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, which cause heart attacks and strokes and have taken the lives of thousands of victims since their release in 2003, according to Drug Watch.
Contact a Pharmaceutical Litigation Lawyer Today
There has been a huge increase in prescription drug use in the last two decades, in part due to the prolific spending on marketing and advertising by pharmaceutical companies. The U.S. spent $40 billion on prescription drugs in 1990, compared to $234 billion in 2008, according to Drug Watch. It is highly unethical for any company to create unsafe products for consumers. From devastating birth defects to cancer, there are thousands of prescription drugs that ruin the lives of victims around the country. If you or a loved one have suffered any health issues from an unsafe drug, contact an experienced pharmaceutical attorney today.