Is Off Label Drug Use Ethical?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Drugs have become big business. Off label drug use is just another way for the industry to pull in more profits. But are drugs prescribed for ailments other than what they were intended ethical? Could such an application have serious consequences for those who use them?

Drugs are prescribed to treat a specific ailment. However, in recent years, such drugs have been administered to patients for ailments other than what the drug is intended to address. The only reason why such practices occur is to add more income to the coffers of today's big pharmaceutical companies, that too often have a free reign to do what they want.

In effect, today's drug company resembles the pushers of the sixties and seventies who sold hard drugs like LSD, heroin, and cocaine to addicted users. The only difference is that today's drug firm has established itself as legitimate, though its practices are anything but ethical.

Marketing through Misinformation and Manipulation stated that: “drastic action is essential to preserve the integrity of medical science and practice and to justify public trust.”

This statement points out the greed and corruption that now exists in the boardrooms of many pharmaceutical companies that are more concerned about the bottom dollar than the health of the consumer who takes their drug formulations.

Neurontin, a drug manufactured by Parke-Davis, a Pfizer affiliate, was introduced in 1993 to address those with partial complex seizures. Two years later, sales reached a mere $98 million. By 2004, that number mushroomed to $3 billion. This was not due to a sudden increase in patients suffering from seizures. What happened was an aggressive marketing campaign where doctors were pushed and misled to prescribe the drug for off-label use to treat migraines, epilepsy, and bipolar disorder.

Marketing practices for the purpose of manipulation is not considered illegal, pushing drugs for non-approved use is. Parke-Davis recruited and paid doctors to act as consultants, salespeople, researchers, and educators to increase sales of Neurontin for off-label use.

Pushing drugs such as Neurontin is far from unusual. It's a common practice to prescribe medications to treat symptoms for anything, but what they are intended.

David Franklin, a Parke-Davis pharmaceutical representative, filed a suit against Parke-Davis and Pfizer with the claim that the off-label marketing use of the drug amounted to "false claims," designed to extort money from the federal government. The company agreed to pay fines of $430 million, a small fraction of the $3 billion it accumulated.

The Neurontin case reflects the inability of the government to regulate the industry practices of the pharmaceutical industry. There is no willingness to correct an industry bent on gathering profits at any cost. The NEJM has pointed out the greed and corruption that drives today's medical world.

The average consumer has to be aware that their doctors may not have their health at mind, as their doctors may be pushing unethical drugs for a pharmaceutical company. It is a mistake to put your full trust in your doctor. Essentially, you need to take an active approach to your health and safety. Look towards natural healing practices over a pharmaceutical drug.

"Everyone needs to get a physical every year, including blood and urine tests. If a problem is found, they should seek alternative, non-toxic, non-invasive methods to balance the body...If further tests lead to a worsening condition, turn to mainstream medical help...Not the other way around!"

This is a common-sense approach to maintaining health. It's an effective way to put a damper on the stranglehold the pharmaceutical industry and the medical industry have over life and heath.


 


Submitted: July 15, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Mario. All rights reserved.

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