For over a century the Food & Drug Administration has been a ruling authority on national health legislation. With an annual budget of $6.5 billion, the federal agency controls dietary supplements, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals. Many see the government organization as a benevolent force that only endorses products deemed safe for human consumption. However, history repeatedly proves the institution’s authorization is not always synonymous with safety. Throughout the decades, FDA-approved drugs have altered or ended countless lives. Electric shock therapy was used on children until 2020. Accutane resulted in more than 20,000 suicides. Zantac exposed millions to dangerous carcinogens and Vioxx caused 27,000 heart attacks. Ironically, the very same regulators vehemently opposed importing harmless baby formula during mass shortages.
VALDECOXIB (BEXTRA) Beginning in 2001, the NSAID was used to treat arthritis and menstrual pain. Only weeks later the inconspicuous pills were manifesting a plethora of afflictions. Bextra induced heart attacks, strokes, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Some contracted toxic epidermal necrolysis, a life-threatening skin condition. By 2009 Pfizer was criminally charged and ordered to pay $2.3 billion to victims. TERFENADINE (SELDANE) Terfenadine is an antihistamine used for treating allergic reactions. Users worldwide suffered from severe adverse events including arrhythmias, palpitations, and cardiac arrest. Hundreds succumbed to heart issues triggered by the decongestant. Despite the rising fatalities, it remained on the market for 13 years. EFALIZUMAB (RAPTIVA) Consumers used this immunosuppressant to treat their psoriasis but were plagued with a host of horrific ailments. An unfortunate percentage developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a fatal disease that destroys the white matter of the brain and central nervous system.