Friday, July 08, 2016
Prescription Drugs: Who Do We Blame?
After reading Katinka Newman's new book, 'The Pill That Steals Lives' in just under 5 hours it left me with many burning questions, one above all has plagued me for some time, namely; who is responsible?
Who do we, the consumer of psychiatric medication, point the finger of blame at when it's the drug that causes the problems? We are tossed the line that we should have read the patient information leaflet regarding the side effects that these drugs "may" cause, ergo the responsibility lays firmly on our shoulders.
When questioned about a possible drug reaction many doctors, who remember have studied hard to get where they are, often dismiss our claims, opting instead to add yet more medications into the mix to try and fix the problem caused by their original prescription, all the time the doctor assumes he is trying to fix a problem in the patient's head rather than the idea he/she came up with in his/her head that the patient has some form of mental disorder. If they stood back, or stepped out of their bubble occasionally they would see that their original diagnosis was made upon guess work rather than actual scientific evaluation.
The British drug regulator, the MHRA, are the referee, the umpire in what has become an uneven match between patient and healthcare professional. Sadly, the MHRA are limp-wristed, nae powerless to intervene when they see obvious adverse reactions to medications. What is the point of having a regulator in place who are a; scared of their own shadow when it comes to reprimanding, and b; powerless?
The MHRA are pretty good at one thing but it does not involve the drugs you and I are prescribed by healthcare professionals. They are the self appointed masters of controlling fake drugs that slip into the market by way of back street sellers or, more popularly, internet websites promising cheap Viagra.
Where they fail on a grand scale is regulating the drugs dispensed by pharmacists on the so-say of a prescription written by a professional.
The MHRA have, for many years, proudly boasted about the adverse event reporting system they have in place, they call it the Yellow Card Reporting System - it's basically a flawed system whereby professionals and patients fill in a card and list what they think the drug in question may have caused, be that a skin rash or a major psychotic episode. What the MHRA do is add these reports to a database - they don't, as one would expect, go out and visit the professional or patient making these claims. Adding it to a database seems to be the only thing that they do - one has to ask how they see this as regulating and safeguarding human health?
Then we have the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture these medications - more often than not these days they are making out-of-court settlements with consumers affected by their products. No admission of guilt and a licence to continue promoting and selling the very same drugs they have recently paid out millions in compensation to victims of the said drugs. It's a lucrative way to run a business and one which only pharmaceutical companies can get away with.
Imagine for one minute that your small business made a product that made people ill or, worse still, killed them, do you really think that you, as CEO of your small business, would be able to 'buy off' those injured or the families of the deceased?
This is exactly what pharmaceutical companies do and it's something that we have just learned to accept, pretty much in the same way that we have learned to accept that some drugs may harm some people.
We accept this in an almost shrug of the shoulders fashion - it is what it is. We are so blazè with our attitudes in much the same way that prescribing professionals, the MHRA and pharmaceutical companies are - this really needs to change. Our apathetic attitude is playing into the hands of those who cook, who oversee the cooks, and finally those who spoon feed us in the form of a prescription.
I, of course, and not speaking for everyone here. There are many advocates out there that have been calling for changes regarding the way in which we are prescribed mind-altering drugs on the whim of someone's belief that losing your home or a failed marriage equates to a tennis ball sized tumorous growth inside your head, a growth that needs slowing down.
Depression, we are told, should be talked about, it should not be a taboo subject. I've often wondered if it was marketing teams involved with pharmaceutical companies that came up with the taboo line in efforts to get people talking about product a,b, or c.
The behaviour of pro-antidepressant psychiatrists has become laughable. Just a quick glance at some of the newer disorders that have appeared over the years is quite comical, yet tragic in equal measures.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, Disorder of Written Expression, Expressive Language Disorder, Mathematics Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder Reading Disorder, Rumination Disorder ~ and these are just childhood disorders!
Tell a prescribing psychiatrist that he just may have misdiagnosed you and you will witness something borne by his profession, namely Delusional Disorder, an apparent disorder by which the individual experiences the presence of either bizarre or non-bizarre delusions which have persisted for at least one month. - In your shrink's case - the delusion is that he believes he can see inside your brain and know exactly what disease you have going on inside there. He needs no medical device - he can just tell based upon answers you give him.
Meantime, the pharmaceutical companies have a vast selection of pills to treat the invisible disease inside your head, the one that your psychiatrist found by staring at you as you gave him answers to questions. The MHRA are busy busting Joe Bloggs for selling Viagra pills out the back of his van - they don't really care much for the pills you've been prescribed for an illness that you haven't got.
All of the above provide us with their credentials - it keeps them on top of the pile and us where they think we belong ~ at the bottom with our begging bowls (Please sir, can I have some more?) - and more they give us ~ and the more we succumb to life itself.
And so the cycle continues...