Drug Policy, Bendectin, and Frivolous Litigation
I was reading this article on the FDA's increasing sensitivity to safety concerns (via Instapundit) and I couldn't help myself. My version of the article's conclusion:
If America's [reproductive-age] population is to get the new [or any] drugs it needs, policy makers must make decisions based on data, and resist speculation and public pronouncements by special interests.
Of course, my position is that policy makers shouldn't make any drug-related decisions, period, but it's good to see wide support for science-based policy, and noninterference in medical matters by special interest groups. Oh, wait, my mistake! This only applies when it comes to America's aging population [and a few select other populations, *cough* males *cough*].
One thing of note from the article is the mention of Bendectin. Although the drug was long off the market when I started out, I must say, every single time I heard an attending who'd used Bendectin talk about it, it was in glowing terms. No wonder, considering what happened after its withdrawal:
The most widely prescribed drug for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), Bendectin, was voluntarily withdrawn from the US market in 1982, after numerous, unsuccessful lawsuits alleged it had caused birth defects.
After its withdrawal, hospitalization rates for NVP doubled while solid evidence of Bendectin's safety continued to accumulate.
Here's more on the Bendectin story, and the treatment of NVP, in general.
And since we're on the subject of NVP, I cannot emphasis this strongly enough: nausea and vomiting are NOT an inevitable part of the pregnancy experience. Please don't feel like you have to suffer in silence. Untreated, this condition gets worst before it ever gets better. And for some it can get quite bad, indeed. Hospitalization and parenteral nutrition while pregnant are truly miserable experiences. Please talk to your physician and ask for treatment!
Last, but not least, no mention of Bendectin would be complete without a lawyerly perspective.