All opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Drug safety, side effects, FDA, and its challenges

Recently USFDA announced "Safety First" program for the drugs that are in the market. WSJ reports, “Top Food and Drug Administration officials said this week consumers should expect to see more advisories and warnings from the agency about drug-side effects.”

It is an interesting and an intriguing program. I am not sure of its efficacy and how it will help the consumers. The side effects of drugs that are commercial are public information and available. If one is expecting that the database is going to list every and all side effects, it is not going to do it and is going to come short of what everyone will expect.

We need to revisit and understand what the drugs are. Drugs are toxic specialty/fine chemicals. Fine/specialty chemicals, to a chemist are organic molecules that are mostly heterocyclic ring/s with nitrogen, sulfur, halogen, phosphorous and/or oxygen incorporated in the ring/s and/or in their side chains. It is very likely that they have unsaturated bonds.

Drug evolution, development, and regulatory review process leads to the introduction of many drugs. I am sure during the development process close attention is paid to how the drug will interact with human body. There are checks and balances in place and only the drugs that have no or minimum ill effects enter the approval progression process. I do not believe that the interaction with every possible drug on humans take can be identified and quantified.

Developers and/or the regulators do not know or have where-with-alls of how an unsaturated complex organic molecule is going to interact with another unsaturated complex molecule/s and acid/alkali of the human body. I do not know if anyone speculate and/or can conjecture how the molecules will breakdown and possibly recombine to create a new complex molecule in the human body. Only way to make a scientific conclusion is to actually study the effect of combination of drugs.

Since the interaction of the drugs is happening in the human body, the resulting chemicals cannot be sampled and studied for their good and/or bad effects. We all know that the human body is a well-controlled reaction system. Every bad effect on human body is manifested by an illness, which is called side effect.

Why did USFDA take on this task? They are the “FOOD AND DRUG SAFETY PATROL” and this additional task is being taken on to placate its critics. Everyone eventually is going to treat FDA database as gospel and indicator of all ill effects. It is going to come short on expectations and FDA again is going to be blamed.

In addition, I do not know how they will carry out this enormous task when it does not have sufficient money and/or the manpower to higher priority tasks. This task is impossible at best. It is a loose-loose situation at best.

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