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Life Extension Magazine

LEF Magazine December 1998

As We See It

They Want You Brain Dead

The FDA has spent 13 years trying to stop Americans from obtaining low-cost Hydergine from overseas suppliers. Prices in Europe for Hydergine products are at an all-time low, but FDA enforcement remains high, thus causing Americans to pay protectionist prices for Hydergine.

As you will read in a new report appearing in this issue, Hydergine may be one of the more effective agents to prevent brain aging. Yet as nursing homes fill with senile "brain dead" Americans, the FDA sends its agents on "European vacations" at taxpayer expense to raid companies that ship low-priced Hydergine to Americans.

Some European suppliers are offering 100 5-mg ergoloid mesylates (generic Hydergine) tablets to Americans for under $20. This same amount of generic Hydergine costs about $175 in the U.S. Is it any wonder that the FDA is taking such aggressive actions against offshore companies that offer lower-cost medications? The FDA's actions are protecting the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. In doing so, it is squandering millions of tax dollars to force American consumers to pay eight times more for Hydergine than it would cost in Europe.

In September 1997, the FDA convinced a British government bureaucracy called the Medicines Control Agency to raid companies in England that ship medications to Americans for personal use. The MCA seized these medications under the guise of protecting the public against dangerous drugs. As detailed in last month's issue of Life Extension, the mca took the unprecedented step of sending letters to Americans who bought Hydergine, stating that the product had been tested, the quality was "suspect" and the tablets were "not of the efficacy that legitimate manufacturers would have produced."

The Life Extension Foundation conducted an independent analysis on the Hydergine shipped by the company that the MCA accused of selling defective Hydergine. The assay scientists noted, "On the basis of our laboratory analysis, we submit that the [Hydergine] tablets assayed contained the correct ingredients. The dose of the labeled amount was found to be within the allowable usp limits." The MCA thus intentionally tried to deceive Americans by libeling the low-cost Hydergine ordered for personal use.

According to a new federal study, health care costs are expected to double in the next nine years, while prescription drug prices will increase by a whopping 274 percent. The report noted that over the last five years, health-care costs have been kept artificially low because of the one-time savings Americans enjoyed with the switch to managed health care. Now that managed health care is facing the harsh realities of what health care really costs, Americans will soon pay sharply higher prices for medical insurance and treatment.

Americans pay the lowest prices in the world for most things except for health care. The high cost of medicine in the United States is caused by a regulatory system that has been allowed to proliferate out of control.

An example of how consumers become the ultimate victims can be seen with the pricing of such prescription drugs as Viagra. This popular impotence- treating aphrodisiac drug comes in 25-mg, 50-mg and 100-mg strengths, yet the pharmaceutical company that makes Viagra charges the identical price for all three potencies. In other words, the price charged for the drug has nothing to do with the cost of the active ingredient. Some doctors are prescribing 100-mg strength Viagra tablets and suggesting that their patients break the tablets in half or in quarters to save money. The problem is that Viagra tablets do not break easily, so it is difficult to obtain precise dosing by chopping up the tablets. Viagra is just one of many prescription drugs that cost the same amount per pill for any potency.

The costs and uncertainties of bureaucratic red tape are what forces drug companies to charge outlandish prices for the few drugs the FDA allows them to sell. As Life Extension magazine has repeatedly detailed, consumers are not "protected" by government over-regulation. In fact, quite the opposite occurs. More people in the U.S. die from adverse reactions to government-approved drugs than anywhere else in the world.

In most countries, little can be done to prevent government-sanctioned monopolies from financially raping the citizenry. Even in Europe and Japan, people pay artificially high prices because of over-regulation. Americans are different. We are the progeny of revolutionaries who did not tolerate government inefficiency and abuse. If you think you're too busy to petition for the abolition of the current regulatory system, just look at the medical insurance premiums you are paying for yourself, your family or your employees. The government says these costs will double in nine years. The cost of medical care would decline if the FDA's powers were severely restricted or abolished. Free market forces would create a medical renaissance free of inhibition by over-zealous bureaucrats. We know the FDA is incapable of regulating drug safety, since more than 100,000 Americans die every year from drugs that the FDA says are safe (see The Journal of the American Medical Association, April 15, 1998).

The Life Extension Foundation is the only organization that regularly exposes governmental incompetence and corruption as it relates to the quality and cost of medical care. If you are willing to consider participating in lawsuits filed against the FDA and other regulatory agencies that are attempting to defraud American consumers out of their health and money, please write to the Life Extension Foundation, P.O. Box 1067, Hollywood, Fla., 33022 Please indicate if you are being denied an offshore medication to protect against brain aging, hepatitis C liver damage, age-associated immune impairment, or other life-threatening diseases.

William Faloon
Vice President
Life Extension Foundation