The purpose of medication is to provide a cure for disease or relief for symptoms. With all of the testing and clinical trials that drugs have to go through before they receive approval from the FDA and are legally allowed to be sold to American citizens, you should be able to trust that the drugs you’re putting into your body will not cause you harm. However, this is not the case. In fact, there are nearly 1300 drug recalls each year in the United States.
Some of these recalls are caused by careless mistakes–a few years ago a batch of antidepressants was recalled after their labels were accidentally switched with erectile dysfunction medication that was produced in the same laboratory–but more often than not, these drugs are found to be harmful to consumers after spending years on the market.
Every pharmaceutical manufacturer is required by the FDA to disclose publicly any possible risks and adverse effects associated with their medications. Because of this, every pharmaceutical advertisement concludes with an absurd list of warnings and side effects. In escalating order of severity, “X may produce nausea, vertigo, moodiness, constipation,” etc.
Yet, the rationale behind including side effects in advertisements is straightforward: in exchange for directly marketing their drugs to customers, pharma firms are required to inform users of the risky—and occasionally fatal—side effects of their goods. Pharmaceutical advertisements are kept truthful about the dangers of their products by these warning laws. As a culture, we have faith that the drugs our doctors recommend will benefit us rather than harm us. Here are five of the most serious medication recalls in recent memory.
The drug Tepezza was released in 2020 as the first treatment for thyroid eye disease. For many people, this drug provided some long-awaited relief of the symptoms of thyroid eye disease, but some people react differently to certain medications. For some patients, the drug had severe, irreversible side effects.
When the drug’s manufacturers applied for FDA approval, they disclosed that the drug had the potential to cause hearing loss in patients, but claimed that the chances of this happening were only about 10%. Nearly a year after the drug was approved by the FDA and officially released to consumers, further research was done on the impact that the drug had on hearing loss.
This new research found that the likelihood was much higher than the manufacturer had originally claimed–with the risk for hearing loss being closer to 60%. Once this information was made public, patients who had suffered hearing loss after taking the drug have contacted firms like RosenfeldInjuryLawyers and began suing Tepezza, claiming that the manufacturers knew of the real risk and failed to warn consumers, making them responsible for the permanent decrease in quality of life for so many patients.
Thalidomide and Diethylstilbestrol
It might surprise you to learn that before the 1962 Kefauver-Harris Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, manufacturers were not required to prove the effectiveness of their drugs before they were sold, nor were they required to document and report side effects that were discovered after the drugs hit the market.
These amendments came after the recall of the drug Thalidomide in 1961. The drug was originally marketed as a sedative, eventually being sold over the counter to pregnant women to help combat morning sickness. The reason why the drug was recalled in 1961 is that it was found to be the cause of over 10,000 cases of severe birth defects.
Once this was discovered, the manufacturer faced criminal charges for homicide and injury as a result of their negligence. Possibly one of the most shocking details of this recall case is that the drug was never actually approved for sale in the United States, but was still prescribed to nearly 20,000 pregnant women.
Another dangerous drug that doctors loved to prescribe to pregnant women was diethylstilbestrol (DES). The drug was meant to help women produce enough estrogen to ensure a safe pregnancy. It was believed to prevent miscarriages and other pregnancy complications but was eventually proved ineffective.
Still, despite this knowledge, doctors continued to prescribe this useless drug to pregnant women for nearly another twenty years. In 1971, the FDA announced that DES caused a rare form of cancer in girls who were exposed to the drug in the womb. The drug’s manufacturer was forced to pay over a billion dollars to victims who suffered as a result of their negligence.
If you aren’t a crime and homicide junkie, then it might surprise you to learn that Tylenol was recalled in 1982. This recall was not prompted by any sort of dangerous side effect or impurity in a particular batch, but rather by the packaging of the drug. The bottles were deemed to not be secure enough.
This decision came after seven people in the Chicago area died within a week of each other, each after taking Tylenol. Investigators declared these deaths to be homicides, determining that whoever committed the murders had tampered with the bottles of Tylenol while they sat on store shelves, emptying the medicine from the capsules and replacing it with cyanide.
This murder, along with numerous copycat murders, caused the FDA to recall the products. This recall led to the modern tamper-proof bottles that all drugs come in today. At the point when a medication is reviewed in light of the fact that there’s something in it that shouldn’t be, it’s terrifying however frequently discernible: Unfamiliar items, for example, shards of metal or microorganisms could penetrate drugs through grimy plants or careless assembling rehearses.
However, as of late a more deceptive — and hard to destroy — type of defilement has surfaced among producers of a portion of the world’s top of the line drugs. They’re called nitrosamines.