There have been numerous cases in which a pharmaceutical was released for sale to the general public and after countless people suffered ill effects, that drug was either pulled from the market or was subject to mandatory ‘warnings’ intended as information but that rarely reached the people who mattered: the patients. Doctors are given regular directives from the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, and from the CDC, but there are times when the information contained in those missives isn’t passed down to patients.
Is it negligence on the part of the healthcare provider or perhaps that particular document didn’t get where it was intended to go? In either case, bloggers and content writers are among doctors who write reviews and when they are wrong based on faulty or incomplete information, who bears the responsibility? This is a question being asked in countless lawsuits against the manufacturers of Mirapex because a large number of people suffered serious consequences from the drug, some after a very short time.
Doctors Review Mirapex
About ten years in after Mirapex had been approved for use by consumers as a prescription medication formulated for the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, one doctor wrote a review on Mirapex that found it useful in treating bipolar disorder. Now if you search the Internet, you are likely to find as many, if not more, reviews of Mirapex as a medication used in psychological disorders. While many medications have ‘off-label uses’ not necessarily approved by the FDA, this is one drug that seems to have suffered severe consequences as a result of these other uses.
On Friday, November 30, 2007, Dr. Darvin Hege posted a Mirapex review that began by asserting that Mirapex is ‘little used’ but is effective in the treatment of bipolar depression and resistant depression. Perhaps from reviews like this bloggers and product reviewers gleaned that Mirapex had been developed for psychiatric disorders. However, there is no clear evidence that it was Dr. Hege’s review, or the reviews of other prestigious psychiatrists, that led to the assumption that Mirapex had been developed for psychiatric disorders. In any event, it can be assumed that finding it helpful in these cases did lead to an increased number of individuals who were being prescribed what later turned out to be a medication with the potential for serious side effects, the worst of which is alleged to be death.
Allegations in Law Suits
In a year-long sample survey, the FDA found 15 deaths allegedly to be the result of Mirapex. As reported on the druglib.com website, the samples included people of all ages from young adults to the elderly and both male and female. The sampling was taken in 2012 and what many people find troubling is that this was 16 years after the FDA themselves approved it for use by consumers with a prescription. That is almost two decades in which countless people potentially suffered severe consequences which largely went unreported because there had been no link to serious side effects yet in relation to the prescription drug Pramipexole, Mirapex being the brand name.
The implications for bloggers and those who regularly review health products, including pharmaceuticals, are huge. Many believe that big pharma releases drugs too quickly without adequate studies and clinical trials and as a result, long term side effects go unnoticed until worst case scenario, death results from that medication. In best case scenarios, side effects are mild and can be treated by simply stopping dosing with the medication.
Product Reviewers Beware
It would be great if it was possible to say that this was a rare occurrence but the facts speak for themselves. Mirapex is only one drug that was approved by the FDA to later be the subject of lawsuits alleging serious side effects that the pharmaceutical company should have been aware of. There are dozens of such products, many of which are later recalled but not before serious damage is done. Bloggers and product reviewers should take this very seriously indeed.
Doctors and patients alike read these reviews that are typically based on information that has been released to the general public in the form of press releases. What many bloggers should be doing is researching how long the product they are reviewing was in clinical trials and what the success factor was. An ethical blogger will always place a visible disclaimer on the product review that will explain that all data may not be available as yet and that anyone contemplating starting that pharmaceutical should weigh their options carefully prior to starting treatment. Such a disclaimer is the ethical thing to do and can save lives.