Editorial—Take a Hike, Chicken Little

Jan 01, 2005

Carol L Fisher
You don't need me to tell you how bad the news has been for the pharmaceutical industry in the last two months. First, it was antidepressants for children, then Vioxx. It took maybe 48 hours before the first tort request hit the airwaves, asking to hear from those who'd experienced heart attacks or strokes after taking the drug. Celebrex came next, followed by NIH announcing it put the kibosh on a study of naproxen.

Letters to the Editor
I recently awoke one morning to the familiar voice of one of New York's well-known radio investment advisors shouting "sell! sell! sell!" after the name of each drug company he listed. His normal presentation style could be classified as excitable, but on this particular morning, he sounded so agitated that my first thought was that something dreadful must have happened while I was sleeping. The following news broadcast included no disaster, so I decided it was merely a case of the "Chicken Little Syndrome" — or at least I hoped it was.

In spite of the apparent pounding the industry's reputation has been taking, the results of a mid-December AP poll conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs suggest it's not as bad as one might think. A total of 1,002 adults participated, including 773 prescription drug users. More than eight in ten respondents said they had confidence in the general safety of prescription drugs in the US, and almost that many participants expressed confidence in FDA.

So take that, Chicken Little. The sky isn't falling after all.

Carol L. Fisher, Editor in Chief
BioPharm International

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