Three months ago GSK was fined £1.9bn for fraud on study results concerned with safety issues. As a result, they have promised to make their drug research more ‘transparent’, which will start next year. GSK are one of the biggest drug manufacturers in the UK, and thousands of people daily take their product assuming they are safe.
GlaxoSmithKline are in charge of ensuring that their products are safe, and are in full control of the studies, and so have the option to pick and chose their results, and show what they like. After all, they are a business, and are in it to make money. Showing something might not be safe, or needs more research is going to cost the company, so they don’t. I’m not sure how much difference a promise of ‘transparency’ is going to improve the situation.
This is the case with all drug and food manufacturers. They are responsible for conduction safety studies, then present the results to a regulatory body. The problem being that they chose what results to pick, and so some foods or drugs may not really be safe!
Governing bodies do have the option to conduct independent research on products to verify the results they are presented with, but the amount of these independent studies being conducted is dropping, whilst the amount of new foods and drugs is increasing. This means more potentially dangerous products are slipping through the safety net.
So, with a growing amount of potentially harmful drugs out there, and no real way of knowing what is safe what should you do? Safest thing to do is eat natural and familiar things. Imaging when you are shopping, that you are in a foreign country and cannot read the labels on food. It makes identifying lots of foods very difficult, if you can’t identify it, don’t eat it! With drugs, don’t take fancy new ones, paracetamol is a well known pain killer with no serious side effects, so there is no need to go for anything else.