The recent death of pop icon Whitney Houston has once again sparked worldwide awareness of the fragility of human life, and how easily precious souls can evaporate in an instant. But what Houston’s death has also brought to the forefront is the reality that, under the auspices of treating disease, Wrong prescription or fake medicines or drug abuse may be the main culprit. Though the mainstream media is silent on the subject, some reports are now indicating that Whitney Houston’s death was actually caused by prescription drugs and alcohol, not drowning. According to reports, a deadly combination of Lorazepam, Valium, Xanax, and sleeping medications killed Houston before she sunk underneath the water in her bathtub.
Illegal Drug Use could mean any one of the three dreadful things. Fake drugs, wrong prescription or drug abuse. Medicine production is a trillion-dollar industry. Whereas it is angelic to search the cure of diseases and to produce the drugs with right contents , the greed of the evil-doers has no bounds or limits . Thus producing medicines with rubbish contents bearing looks and packing of the originals , is an easy way to become an over-night millionaire. This greed has devoured many precious assets of many homes and nations. The problem with counterfeit drugs is that you never know what is inside and what reaction it will have on your body. Thus a drug prescribed as “life” could mean “death”. Drug manufacturers and distributors are increasingly investing in countermeasures, such as traceability and authentication technologies, to try to minimise the impact of counterfeit drugs but apparently this menace is uncontrollable.
Those who prescribe wrongly, either because they have no knowledge or they were doing so because of some ugly motive, are equal partners in the crime like the doctor of Michael Jackson who was blamed of giving unauthorised medicines to maximize corporate profits .FDA consists of human beings and they are doing their part, but may be they need more help from each one of us to fight the evil.
But apparently the biggest problem in America is the drug abuse. "We are in the midst of a public health crisis driven by prescription drug abuses," Gil Kerlikowske, White House director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy said last year. Drug abuse is defined as the use of illegal drugs, or the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for at least a year with negative consequences. According to reports, Prescription drugs taken as directed kill 100,000 Americans a year. That's one person every five minutes. Sixty-five percent of the country takes a prescription drug these days. In 2005 alone, we spent $250 billion on them.
Some Victims of Drug Abuse
If we limit ourselves to only America and only the entertainment industry, the sad deaths include, American actress, singer, and model Marilyn Monroe reportedly died of a barbiturate overdose, a class of drugs that artificially induces relaxation and sleep. Though the precise details of her death are still disputed, her death was officially declared to be “acute barbiturate poisoning”. Famous American actor Nick Adams, reportedly died of an overdose of barbiturates as well.
Iconic singer Elvis Presley had a long history of prescription drug abuse, having developed an addiction to stimulants during his days in the military. Kurt Cobain, former lead singer and guitarist of the band Nirvana, reportedly died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head that many reports link to a lethal dose of heroin. Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” died after being given an injection of Demerol, a highly potent opioid drug, by his doctor. Though prescription drugs eventually killed him, Jackson may have been deliberately drug induced by his “handlers” for quite some time throughout his career as a way to maximize corporate profits. The list is very long but each death calls for strict action, to save those who are alive.
The recent news that a fake version of the widely used heart and cancer cure medicine Avastin is making in roads in USA has been a source of great worry. The criminal practice has largely been existing in poor countries with lax regulations. But with more medicines and drug ingredients for sale in the U.S. being manufactured overseas, American authorities are afraid more counterfeits will find their way into this country, putting patients' lives at risk.
Counterfeits have traditionally been more of a concern in developing regions like Asia and Latin America, where as many as 30 percent of drugs sold are fake, according to the World Health Organization. The group estimates just 1 percent of drugs dispensed in the U.S. and other developed nations are fake.
But incidents of counterfeiting reported by drug makers have increased steadily over the decade to more than 1,700 worldwide last year, though only 6 percent of those were in the U.S. There are few reliable estimates on the value of the global counterfeit drug trade, though most place it in the tens of billions.
American patients currently enjoy peace of mind knowing that their prescription medicines are safe and effective, as determined by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and not counterfeit. While every drug carries both benefits and risks, patients in the U.S. can generally be confident in the authenticity of their medicines. But occasionally some occurrences do take place. In the year 2007, when in USA, medicine Xenical (for fighting obesity) was checked, It contained no active ingredient and was sold via Internet sites operated from outside the USA
Some Suggestive measures
- Please avoid self medication.
- Avoid the advice of friends who tell you, “once I had this problem and took this medicine, and become alright”. Let proper doctor decide the cause and medicine required for you (alone).
- In over 50% of cases, medicines purchased over the Internet from illegal sites that conceal their physical address7 have been found to be counterfeit.
- Paying for medicines can consume a significant proportion of individual or family income. Some people seek medicines that are sold more cheaply. These are often available from non-regulated outlets, where the incidence of fake medicines is likely to be higher.
- People might also purchase medicines from non-regulated outlets if, as is often the case in the rural areas of developing countries, medicines supplies at regular health facilities do not meet demand.
- The growth in international trade of pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines adds a further dimension of complexity to this issue. For example, trade through brokers and free trade zones where regulation is lax or absent (and medicines repackaged and re-labelled to conceal country of origin) is increasing. The individuals need to be sure of FDA approval to avoid such situation.