The Food and Drug Administration is constantly busy testing and retesting all sorts of foods, drugs, and devices that are available
for public use, and thankfully, the FDA is capable enough to catch most potential hazards before they become a significant threat.
However, due to its hefty burden and corporate disinterest, the FDA’s recalls rarely become widespread public knowledge, which means many Americans may continue to consume dangerous items. Even years after a recall, millions of American homes may harbor pill bottles that contain exceedingly dangerous substances.
Here are a few FDA drug and pharmaceutical product recalls from the past few years that have imperiled American lives.
Most people will do just about anything to rid their faces of embarrassing acne, so when Accutane (generic name: isotretinoin) first appeared in the early 1980s as a breakthrough cure for acne, people flocked to dermatologists in droves. Accutane was once the final resort for acne sufferers, for whom topical applications like benzoyl peroxide were ineffective; the pharmaceutical requires a topical application of retinoids, followed by an antibiotic regimen to prevent infection.
For nearly 30 years, Accutane incited concerns about safety and effectiveness from doctors and patients alike. In women alone, Accutane can cause all kinds of reproductive problems, such as spontaneous abortion and fatal birth defects, even after Accutane treatments ceased. Additionally, despite potentially healthier skin, Accutane users have displayed a higher-than-average risk for depression, which was often accompanied by harmful or suicidal thoughts.
Roche Pharmaceuticals discontinued producing Accutane in 2009, but a few generic equivalents remain on the market ― for now. Close to 5,000 lawsuits have been filed against Roche Pharmaceuticals, citing Accutane as a source of continued illness, and the FDA could very well ban the drug for acne use in the coming years.
Sufferers of joint, muscle, and bone pain are often severely limited, so any and all products that claim to end the pain pose promise. Unfortunately, Reumofan Plus, a dietary supplement created by Riger Naturals, claimed to naturally relieve pain associated with a number of conditions while in fact poisoning users with several harmful pharmaceutical ingredients.
The FDA was wary of Reumofan from the very beginning; the agency issued its first warning of harmful side effects in 2012, then repeated the warnings until recalling the drug completely in 2014. Quite contradictory to its intentions, Reumofan can weaken bones, creating even more pain. Additionally, those who take the drug even once are at risk for gastrointestinal problems, including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation, all of which can be fatal.
Despite the drug’s ban, Riger continues to produce Reumofan Plus, and it remains available for purchase online or across the national border. Fortunately, those who have suffered even after the Reumofan Plus recall can seek legal action.
Actos, or its generic name Pioglitazone, first appeared on the pharmaceutical market in 1999, and it was marketed as a miracle treatment for type 2 diabetes. In the form of a round, white tablet, Actos effectively decreases insulin resistance, improves insulin sensitivity, and helps eliminate excess sugar without dangerous blood sugar spikes. When combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and, in some cases, additional medications, Actos made diabetes unbelievably manageable and quickly became one of the bestselling diabetes medicine of all time.
The only problem was (and is) Actos’s unintended consequences. Upon releasing the drug, its manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals was aware of dangerous side effects, including congestive heart failure and kidney disease. However, it took nearly a decade for another serious side effect to emerge: bladder cancer. When taken consistently for more than a year, Actos improves a person’s risk by more than 83 percent, almost ensuring long-term patients develop bladder cancer.
Actos is still on the shelves ― heavily labelled by the FDA ― but doctors rarely advise their patients to remain on this medicine for more than a few months, as Actos eventually provides more misery than miracle.
For centuries, consumers had no choice but to trust the claims made on food and drug labels, but since the establishment of the FDA, Americans have been able to feel safer in the quality of their foods and medical treatments. Today, every food or drug item available for purchase is approved by the FDA. Paying attention to the FDA’s recalls is vital to keeping American families safe even after they have made food and drug purchases; it remains the final step in following the FDA’s advice for a healthy, happy home.