With Congress set to take up the most significant drug safety legislation in nearly 45 years, Consumer Reports has launched a new public awareness campaign with hopes to sway legislators and consumers to act.
"What we hope to get from this campaign is full and accurate information to doctors and consumers and to pharmacists about both the risks as well as the benefits of prescription drugs," Jim Guest Consumer Reports President said.
Patricia Slingo, who is featured in the campaign, took the arthritis drug Vioxx for more than two years before it was pulled off the market. She says she had no history of cardiac problems and that her physician didn't know the potentially serious side effects of the drug.
"I could've decided not to take Vioxx or any other medication that might have had heart related side effects, I wasn't given that opportunity," Slingo said.
Slingo hopes the FDA is more forthcoming in the future.
"I think they need to reveal all of their test results, not just the good stuff. I think they need to fully inform prescribing physicians and the public about all of the side effects that can possibly hurt people," Slingo said.
6 out of 10 Americans feel the FDA and congress have failed to do enough to protect them from prescription drugs that ultimately turn out to be harmful. The best defense, says Consumer Reports - a better informed public.
"I'm not sure what the effect it's going to have in terms of the final choices consumers make, but the point is they ought to be fully informed choices," Guest said.