Cathy and Dan were one of the 17 drug safety activists that gathered in Washington DC on June 29th. While the FDA celebrated its 100 year of service, people came from as far away as Minnesota, Oregon and Ohio to tell their painful stories of suffering from prescription drug side effects. Our message that day to Congress and the FDA was: do more to protect consumer and patient health and make sure we have full information on safety problems with prescription drugs.
Cathy spoke at the news conference we held that day about her son’s death from Paxil. An Ohio TV station covered her story, “Cathy Harter is on a personal crusade to change drug safety guidelines before another life is lost. Harter, along with other families and several representatives Thursday called for hearings on bi-partisan drug safety legislation that has been stalled in Congress.
Cathy blames the Federal Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies for not revealing the findings of critical side effect studies. Cathy said her 19-year-old son started taking Paxil on Sept. 14, 2004 for anxiety. She said 12 days later she noticed drastic changes in his mood.”
After being on Paxil a short time, Stephen took his own life. Two weeks after Stephen’s funeral, the FDA ordered black box warnings to be put on all antidepressants, that describes the increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents.
After hearing Cathy and Dan’s story, Senator DeWine agreed to push for the passage of strong drug safety legislation in Congress, and he became a co-sponsor to S.470, which would require drug companies to publish the results of all their drug clinical trials, so the public would have information about drug side effects.
Consumers Union with continue to work with Cathy, Dan and other drug safety activists across the country to make sure Congress does the right thing, and passes strong drug safety legislation this year.