A recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that the standards for approving new cancer drugs were much lower and less effective than currently utilized treatments. The FDA uses surrogate measures as a means to approve new cancer drugs. Surrogate measures are anything that can measure whether or not a tumor is growing. The problem with using tumor growth as an approval measure is that it fails to assess quality of life or chances of survival.
The study found that 56% of cancer drugs approved in the accelerated approval program between 2009 and 2014 did not have supporting evidence that they extended life or maintained a quality of life.
This is not the first time doctors and consumers have been concerned by dangerous medications. A recent study published in Circulation Research found that some of the most popular heartburn medications like Nexium might prematurely age blood cells and cause chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. With over 110 million prescriptions of Nexium written annually in the US alone, the study has raised serious concerns over the safety of the drug.
Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to prove the safety of their medications before approval, and to adequately warn all doctors and patients of any risks associated with their drugs. However, dozens of medications have proven to fall short, prompting thousands of patients to try to hold manufacturers responsible in a number of lawsuits. From diabetes medications to anti-nausea medications, the pharmaceutical industry can’t seem to get a handle on the safety of medications.