By Colin Taufer
Recently, it was reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that someone suffered a knee injury after sitting on a brand of bench that collapsed. Six others reported this same bench collapsing but reported no injuries. Consequently, the CPSC told all consumers to stop using these particular benches and return them to their point of purchase for a full refund.
Similarly, the CPSC ordered all consumers to stop using, and return for refunds a particular brand of glass dresser knob. The reason? They received two reports of lacerations from broken glass knobs. About 363,000 knobs had been sold in the United States. Based on these reports, representing some .0000006% of all units sold, the knobs were pulled off the market by the federal government and the retailers required to pay back all purchases to consumers.
In 2015, the #2 selling drug according to webmd.com, measured by sales was the anti-psychotic drug Abilify. It took in $7.9 billion in a twelve month span. One reason for such exorbitant revenues is the profit margins. The cheapest price without insurance for Abilify for one 30-tablet bottle can be found at the cut-rate Walmart price of $1004.55. That’s more than $33 per tablet! This helps explain how big pharma could afford to spend over $244 million on lobbying in 2016 alone. Certainly such a financially successful product must have an equally stellar safety record with its consumers.
Unfortunately, this is very much not the case. There have been 13,445 adverse reaction reports filed with the United States Food and Drug Administration in connection with Abilify. And these reactions aren’t simple knee injuries or cut fingers. These are 345 cases of psychotic disorders and 765 cases of tardive dyskinesia (involuntary muscle movements), to name two categories.
More alarming than these reports, six countries have published drug regulatory warnings citing side effects with Abilify ranging from birth defects, strokes and causing death or increased risk of death.
How is it possible that one consumer good gets promptly pulled from the market by the Fed because two people had to Band-Aid their fingers, but another consumer “good” caused psychosis in hundreds and is linked to deaths yet remains on the market racking up record profits?
Thank you, Uncle Sam. I am comforted to know that because of you my fellow citizens can safely experience antipsychotic drug side-effects such as birth defects, strokes and psychotic disorders but their fingers will be saved from dangerous glass knobs.
Welcome to my monthly column. I am a career educator, writer and lifelong advocate for human rights. With each article, I hope to shine a light into the dark world of psychiatry to make stronger champions of human rights, to stir into action, to enlighten. As always, I appreciate feedback from readers. I can be reached at Colin@PsychSearch.net