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Political syncopancy costs lives

FDA plays politics with depression and suicide

Inspired by the plaintiff’s bar, congressional Dems (and a few Republicans like Charles Grassley), began about five years ago to beat up the FDA regarding the perceived dangers of antidepressant use by adolescents.

That always-risk-averse agency responded with a flurry of dire “black-box” warnings in the official labeling of virtually all modern antidepresssant prescription drugs. The politicians pointed with pride to what they had accomplished.

The trial lawyers were also pleased, since this widened their opportunities for medical malpractice lawsuits.But doctors are usually not dumb — especially about malpractice exposure — and they responded with reduced prescribing of antidepressants to adolescents.

Now after three years we see here a tragic price in increased numbers of teen suicides. This study estimates a spike of 600 additional suicide deaths annually over the pre-existing (and down-sloping) trend line.

Politicians score points, trial lawyers get a richer target set, but hundreds of untreated, depressed adolescents die. It’s all so cynical.

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