Thursday, 4 October 2012
A Modern Medical Scandal
I've a dose of the cold. Nothing unusual with the cold virus going around at this time of year, but unfortunately it has resulted in a severe bout of bronchitis which required a visit to the GP. I left clutching a prescription for antibiotics which, I have to say, have removed the feeling of broken glass all down my trachea but have done nothing for the constant cough and other symptoms - not that I expected them to do as bronchitis is caused by a virus.
As usual I Googled the antibiotics to read what others observed because I'm usually hesitant about taking medication unless absolutely necessary and I came across this extract from Ben Goldacre's book Bad Pharma.
He details what most of us suspected about Big Pharma but also shows the drug testing system in the UK is sadly lacking.
Why are drugs being bought by UK health authorities from these large pharmaceutical organisations without all data being provided and not only the positive data done by the companies themselves?
As Goldacre says: 'Evidence in medicine is not an abstract academic preoccupation. When we are fed bad data, we make the wrong decisions, inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering and death, on people just like us.'
His comments don't make comfortable reading but it may encourage more of us to ask questions rather than blithely accepting a prescription without comment. My local chemist used to have several older pharmacists who were excellent at providing information about any drug. Nowadays the pharmacy is full of young people who are always too busy to answer any questions or they keep you waiting while they research it on Google. Much better to do your research in the comfort of your own home.