I was recently taken aback while reading the university newspaper, The Ontarion”, when I stumbled upon an ad from a legal firm. The ad read something like “Crohn’s, Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome- Did you take Accutane? We can help”.
Back in 2005 I began taking Accutane. Accutane or Isotretinoin is a medication used mostly for acne, which I had A LOT of in those days. I was only in grade 10 and I didn’t know any better at that point in my life to be skeptical of modern medicine. After trying all the other acne medications prescribed by my doctor, I went to a dermatologist who prescribed Accutane.
The only warning at that time that they gave for the medication was that I might experience dry skin, be easily sunburned, and that I was not allowed to take the medication if I was pregnant or thought I might get pregnant as it causes birth defects. Perhaps there were a few others, but none of them were as harsh as what they have now discovered.
Today, if you take one search on the internet you will learn that in 2009 Accutane was pulled off the US market. You will also learn that it is still being sold in Canada and that Health Canada spokesman Dave Thomas says, “The benefits of Accutane continue to outweigh the risks if used appropriately.”
Well, Mr. Thomas, I disagree.
In researching Accutane you will read of the many suicides and psychological disorders this drug has been known to have caused, as well as other horrible side effects including digestive disorders, sexual dysfunction, liver damage, depression, and more. (see http://www.drugwatch.com/accutane/)
All of my food sensitivities, chronic nausea and dizziness, depression, and digestive issues started happening in the 2 years following my Accutane treatments. After countless tests the gastro-intestinal specialist I went to suggested I eat yoghurt and take Metamucil. EAT YOGURT- are you kidding me? Is that going to be my cure? That was all modern medicine and OHIP had to offer me. It certainly wasn’t my cure, and for the last 6 years I have been seeking alternative therapies for these issues, and also just simply living with them because alternative therapies often cost a pretty penny!
And perhaps Accutane was not the cause of these issues…
However, let’s assume for a moment that my health problems, and the health problems of others who took Accutane in their lives were caused by this drug, and let’s assume there have been enough legal cases to make it clear that this drug is not safe. Then why does Health Canada continue to allow this drug to be sold, and the FDA to allow generic versions of the same drug to be sold in the United States?
MONEY, of course!
While some folks who have taken this issue to court have received millions — for damages and medical expenses — the numbers do not compare to the company’s revenue from selling the dangerous drug. For example, annual Accutane sales at their peak, in 2000, were up to $759.4 million. That’s a lot of money.
With the last American Election, Californian voters had a chance to vote on the “labeling of genetically engineered foods”. They were not asking for any changes to the food production, but asking that consumers be allowed to know if something they were buying might contain genetically modified organisms. The campaign was in the lead for many months until the opposing large corporations such as Monsanto, Pepsi, Nestle, Dowe, and others pooled their dollars and spent over 45 millions dollars on a counter-campaign. In the end the big companies won. (see right to know)
Time and time again I am disappointed to see our democracy, our health, and our safety overthrown by the folks with the most money. I BEG YOU: next time you go to the doctor and are prescribed something, or next time you buy food at the supermarket, consider that you may not be receiving all the true information about that product, that perhaps inadequate research has been done on those drugs or foods, and that eating or medicating in general is not to be considered lightly.
In the last 100 years we’ve made many advances in technology, food, and health that are awesome, don’t get me wrong, but we’re starting to see just how severe some of our damages are turning out to be. We’re starting to see there are many examples in our present world proving that we’re being “duped” by the very folks who claim to keep us healthy, prosperous, comfortable.
In response to my feelings about all this, a wise friend of mine said, “We all get duped one way or another. It’s how we move forward that counts …”