A recent investigative article has disclosed some scary statistics. Even with FDA approval, prescription drugs kill nearly 200,000 Americans each year. As a result of consumer backlash and the raised awareness of the potential risks of dangerous drugs such as Avandia, Reglan and Darvon/Darvocet, many U.S. drug companies have now moved their clinical trials overseas to Russian, Poland and China where regulation is virtually non-existent and the F.D.A. has no authority. In fact, the 20 largest U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies now conduct one-third of their clinical trials at foreign sites.
According to reports, pharmaceutical representatives are now scouring the world to find people willing undergo clinical trials for new drugs in order to help persuade the F.D.A. to declare drugs safe and effective for Americans. Additionally, if a U.S. study finds a drug has no benefit, a foreign study can be used to secure F.D.A. approval.
One drug being tested in foreign cities is Celebrex, an anti-inflammatory drug that has been heavily promoted in the U.S. for more than a decade. Although Pfizer, the manufacturer of Celebrex has reported 290 trials for the drug, with 107 in other countries, an informal polling revealed at least 207 trials in other countries.
Recently, it has been disclosed that Celebrex patients were more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes than those consumers who took older and cheaper painkillers. Further, reports indicate that Pfizer knew of these problems.
Other dangerous drugs such as Avandia underwent significant testing in Romania, Latvia, and Slovakia searching for test results to prove the drug is safe and effective.
We rely on drugs to heal us and believe when we take an approved drug, it will help us. Instead, many of these drugs have been tested abroad, without oversight and regulation, in order to obtain needed approval to be marketed in the U.S.. Often these drugs have significant risks and side effects that have not been disclosed.