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Is the drug approval system putting people at risk?

December 3, 2008 by  

Drug companies are hurrying to market new drugsThe system of drug approvals that ensures new medications get placed on the market as quickly as possible may be compromising people’s safety, it has been suggested.

According to Dr. David Kao of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, important safety guidelines are being bypassed in favor of expediency.

He explains that it is now possible for a pharmaceutical medication to be placed on sale on the internet within 90 minutes of receiving approval.

One of the dangers of releasing drugs onto the market so quickly is that people are more likely to be placed at risk before all of the facts are unknown.

For example, pharmaceutical giant Merck had an anti-inflammatory drug, Vioxx, on sale for five years before its true risks were identified.

More recently, the same company began marketing a new treatment for high blood sugar levels approximately 14 days after it had been approved.

The Prescription Drug User Fee Act was passed by Congress in 1992, allowing the Food and Drug Administration to collect money from pharmaceutical firms to fund the drug approval process.

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