While problems with FDA-approved medications make huge news, I encourage people to have great confidence in FDA-approved products.
When we learn of problems with FDA-approved products, the problems are usually very uncommon to very rare, and they are only detectable when huge numbers of patients have been treated. One psoriasis drug was approved based on studies of thousands of patients. When three or four patients (out of tens of thousands treated) were found to develop a rare infection, the drug was taken off the market. No drug is completely safe, but even this rare event was enough for this drug to be taken off the market.
The recent recall of some McNeill products (http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com/page.jhtml?id=/include/new_recall.inc) heightens my perception of the safety of FDA-approved products. “Glass is half empty” kind of people might think a recall is a sign that there’s a safety problem. But the opposite is true, in my opinion. Here the drug was recalled without any known safety problem being evident. It was just an extra precaution.
That degree of caution is the kind of caution that should give the public a strong reassurance that their FDA-approved medications are safe to take under the direction of their physician. When it comes to products that aren’t FDA-approved, people should be wary.