When prescription and over-the-counter medications are released to the general public, most people assume they’re safe, because it means they’ve received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After all, the FDA is the governing body for all consumer and medical products in the U.S., and if it gives the green light to a new drug, that must mean it’s safe to use—especially if it’s prescribed by a doctor or other healthcare provider.
But as many people now know, FDA approval and doctor recommendations don’t always mean drugs are safe. There are two main reasons why that happens:
- Drug companies may hide information about potential drug injuries—Researching, developing, and releasing drugs costs pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars. To reduce their risk of that money going to waste, some drug companies will hide or fail to report knowledge of drug injuries to improve the chances of their products being approved by the FDA.
- Drug companies don’t always have to withdraw products from the market if the FDA recalls them—Even if the FDA becomes aware of the dangers associated with a drug and issues a recall, it’s may still be up to the drug company itself to pull the product from the market. That doesn’t always happen, and that means many potentially dangerous drugs can remain on pharmacy and hospital shelves.
It’s important to research any medications you’re prescribed and to bring up your concerns with your doctor. Never stop taking a medication without first speaking to your healthcare provider.