Seems inept to me to take the manufactures word on it. Isn't the point of the FDA to check these claims?The problem is that for the FDA to truly do that, they'd have to redo the studies the drug companies themselves performed and see if everything matches what's being claimed. But that would require way more manpower than we have at this time and would cost a lot lot more money.
I don't think they'd have to completely redo the studies. Hell, you could even have the last stage public. Make it obvious that the drug in question is new, that it's somewhat experimental, and that some side effects and reactions could have gone unnoticed so far. However, after thinking about the issue a little, I think I have a more solid complaint, which may not directly relate to the FDA, but is certainly the way in which our medical industry is set up. And it relates with this last point:
For most things, especially newer drugs, people need prescriptions. I know the FDA is somewhat in control regarding what needs a prescriptions, what can be OTC, etc, and I'm not really going to address that issue. But what about the doctors prescribing the drugs to patients? I know I've heard of more than one study detailing the corruption between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Proper regulations of the system would mean doctors act as more of a safeguard.
I've also seen a recent strew of such events. There's been a LOT of drugs recently that have had huge settlements made. The FDA came about because of this reason, not to simply fine and bitch-slap the companies post facto, but to prevent such events from occurring in the first place. I know this isn't going to always be possible, especially for long-term effects.
While you've got a point to an extent, there's a problem that payouts (in form of settlements or jury-imposed damages) don't always translate into companies doing bad things. For instance, lots of women got money for breast implants causing diseases for them when it's been shown that the diseases don't occur in any greater frequency than in the general population.
That also said, is there a threshold requirement before a company is held liable? There are certainly some things which would be unreasonable to expect being caught. And I think it theoretically make me want to retract everything.
I guess I left it out of it, but this was also something I meant by the above. I think you point to a real problem in the way our legal system is set up, and the way in which it awards people damages.