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General News    H4'ed 12/15/10

Are These Dangerous Drugs in Your Medicine Chest?

Author 1353
Message Martha Rosenberg
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 Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising was legalized 13 years ago, Americans have become a nation of pill poppers -- choosing the type of drug they desire like a new toothpaste, sometimes whether or not they need it.


But if patients want the drugs, doctors and pharma executives want them to have them and media gets full page ads and huge TV flights (when many advertisers have dried up), is the national pillathon really a problem?


Yes, when you consider the cost of private and government insurance (Medicare's budget is bigger than the Pentagon's) and the health of patients who take dangerous drugs like these.


Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, SSRIs


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro probably did more to inflate pharma profits in the decades than direct-to-consumer advertising and Viagra put together, no pun intended: over 66 million prescriptions were filled in the US in 2007.


But many say the drugs have also inflated police blotters.

Humans are the real guinea pigs
Humans are the real guinea pigs
(Image by Martha Rosenberg)
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Columbine shooter Eric Harris (1999), Red Lake shooter Jeff Weise (2005), and NIU shooter Stephen Kazmierczak (2008) were all reportedly under the influence of SSRIs. Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui (2007) was also influenced by psychoactive drugs say reports.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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