9. Non-Prescription Drugs - The Ultimate Confidence
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), up to 500,000
different non-prescription remedies generate at least $ 3.51 billion
in sales every year and, according to its investigating experts who
amassed 14,000 volumes of evidence on these over-the-counter (OTC) drugs,
the people who purchase them are "the victims of a gigantic medical
hoax." According to author/researcher Daniel Zwerdling, the conclusions
of intensive independent studies first launched in 1972 by more than
100 leading medical researchers, physicians and pharmacologists recruited
by the FDA are that "at least half the drugs are worthless or of
dubious value, and some may be harmful. Most of the products are labeled
with misleading claims, and many are advertised with bold lies."
While the industry invests in massive advertising campaigns, it spends
comparatively little in developing and testing new drugs. "Major
OTC producers spend at least $ 400 million in network T.U. spots each
year ... telling consumers, about fifty times a day, that medically
ineffective products will really work." And "the entire OTC
industry probably spends less than $ 1 million each year developing
new OTC ingredients." The 1962 Food, Drug and Cosmetic law requires
the FDA to ban any drug if "there is a lack of substantial evidence
that the drug will have the effect the manufacturer claims it does."
Yet, the FDA leisurely circumvents the law and continues to allow the
drug companies to stall taking their unproven products off the market.
The FDA attorneys "protect the product in a sort of limbo, tailor-made
for the drug companies"... allowing the "industry to continue
advertising and marketing the products for up to five years or longer
while its researchers feverishly try to prove that the drugs really
work." The story of how the American public is the victim of the
"ultimate confidence game" being played by the OTC drug industry
and the FDA qualifies it for nomination as one of the "best censored"
stories of 1976.
SOURCE: "Non-Prescription Drugs -- The Ultimate Confidence Game"
by Daniel Zwerdling; New Times, September 17, 1976, p 36.