Take expired drugs!

Normally I scoff at News You Can Use, but this seems worthwhile passing along.

Suffering thru my second consecutive cold, I pulled out all the drugs I brought with me to China in 2004. To my dismay, they were all expired. That doesn't seem right, I thought, how could drugs expire?

A quick search on the internet turned up two kinds of results: 1) "Over the counter drugs and You" type lists on how to safely take drugs - all advising you to quickly throw away any expired drugs (no further explanation); 2) articles referring to a huge study the US military did on all its pharmaceuticals to see if they'd have to spend $100 million every year to replace expired drugs. The study found that the vast majority of drugs were safe and effective well past their expiration dates - up to 15 years afterward. (See this article from The Wall Street Journal.)

So now we know that pharmaceutical companies, in addition to defending the intellectual property system that kills thousands in poor countries by denying them access to drugs, also enjoys committing petty fraud against consumers in the rich world. As Francis Flaherty, the FDA pharmacist who did the study, put it, "Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons. It's not profitable for them to have products on a shelf for 10 years. They want turnover."


Anonymous said...

look! i'm already learning how to represent these fuckers. an exerpt from a project for my "lawyering" class (below). whee. at least we are allowed to consider non-legal issues, such as the PR effects of reduced-cost distribution to developing countries. am i a good person yet?



Operations Memo: Negotiating a Contract

In this Exercise you will carry forward into the context of transactional advocacy your insights about legal analysis, fact development, use of authority and client interaction. The setting is a negotiation between NYU Medical School and Aderson Pharmaceuticals over the licensing of Septavir, a breakthrough new medication for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. You will begin by assessing the relevant legal and non-legal norms, anticipating outcomes, and brainstorming potential solutions. You will then meet with the client and solicit additional information and feedback, counsel the client about what to expect from negotiation, work with the client to establish clear and reasonable goals, and obtain suitable authority to enter into a licensing agreement on behalf of your client. When meeting to negotiate with the attorney representing the other party, you will use what you've learned to construct persuasive legal and factual narratives, make offers and anticipate counteroffers, and reach an agreement that you believe your client would approve. After the negotiation you will memorialize your agreement (or lack of agreement) and meet with colleagues to critique the process.

Jon said...

the expiration date thing is wack. my gf looks at the date and thinks the drugs will spoil like milk. the rents who are both doctors keep drugs around forever and are like, "just take'em, you'll be fine."

good old information gap

read more said...

Even new drugs are not so good.