When drug companies try to convince doctors about their product, they always cite that their drugs have been approved by FDA. But what some doctors do not know is that FDA approval is based on short term safety only. Most studies are conducted for 6 to 8 weeks. Whereas serious, long-term side-effects of drugs take years to emerge.
For approval of new drugs, FDA has a professional staff of 1500 doctors, scientists, toxicologists and statisticians. But to monitor the safety of more than 3000 drugs already in the market and being prescribed to millions, the agency has a professional staff of just 5 doctors and one epidemiologist.
FDA budget is set by Congress and Congress is under intense pressure from lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry to weaken rather than strengthen drug testing and monitoring for reasons well known to business community.
As a researcher myself and involved in many drug researches, I want my doctors to understand this when confronting pharmaceutical representatives so that they have a balance view on both side of the story. And finally it is the safety of patients is of utmost importance.