More Drug safety: who to believe?

In Patient Safety on December 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

I recently received an email asking to highlight another website on my blog. This site DrugWatch is an A-Z listing of medications, side effects, latest news and uses. There is also a section on lawsuits against particular drugs. This section is particularly appropriate since this site is run by a lawfirm that specializes in personal injury protection (Peterson Firm, LLC). This is clearly delineated on their website banner. The major pharmaceutical companies have their websites and commercials informing the public about “diseases” and drugs that can treat them and the lawyers have their websites about all the side effects of these treatments. Here are the current drugs people are searching for on the lawyers’ website:

Obviously there have been people helped by both types of sites. I am sure there has been some disease awareness and treatment from the big pharma campaigns and I am sure people have received compensation from medication side effects. Overall, have the patients benefited as much as the lawyers and the pharmaceutical companies have ?

The entire drug system needs an overhaul. Should drug manufacturers be made into non-profits and let the people decide what research should be funded by the government or donations? Should research on drugs for orphan diseases be mandated?

And finally contrast the two previous extremes of information (lawyers and drug companies) with that of Consumer Reports. Their health division has Best Buy Drugs. While consumer reports seems to have enjoyed long credibility as a source of truth, are they a good source of truth for medications? They do disclose their funding sources which are from grants and state attorney general offices who benefit from class action suits (back to the lawyers again…).

How to know if drugs are recalled

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