Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients is the title of a book by Ben Goldacre. It’s fun to laugh at those late-night drug commercials where two thirds of the ad is taken up with “warning: may cause…” and “do not take if you’ve ever experienced…”
But the problem is a lot worse than we ever suspected. As the book’s preface says:
“Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques which are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials produce results that companies don’t like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, so we only ever see a distorted picture of any drug’s true effects.”
And this brings us to the recent pandemic of mass shootings — a subject which is discussed in the comments section at the end of the linked article.
Everyone — pro-gun, anti-gun, liberal, conservative — is reciting in unison “these mass murderers didn’t get the mental health treatment they needed.”
For conservatives, “mental health” is probably just a soundbite to take the focus away from assault rifles. When it comes to actually paying for mental health services on a mass scale, conservatives will freeze all funding. Or they’ll insist that mental health care can only be paid for by taking the required funding away from jobs training programs, environmental protection and other government programs they hate.
Anyway, would psychiatric medication — and other treatments — really have prevented any of these mass murders? I don’t have a solution; it’s much easier to pinpoint a problem than to solve it.
But with the horror stories about psychiatric drugs — mentioned in the linked comment section, plus the stories we’ve all heard elsewhere — you have to wonder if the mental “cure” is worse than the disease.
What say you?