Season 22, Episode 4 Dangerous Prescription

First Aired: November 13, 2003

“Dangerous Prescription” explores side effects from what producer Andy Liebman calls “major inadequacies” in the FDA's oversight of drugs before and after they appear on the market. The hour uses diet drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs and a medication for rheumatoid arthritis as case studies. It follows the FDA's approval process and finds, says Liebman, that “many fewer people than most of would imagine” are tested before approval is granted. And drugs that are approved are monitored in “a voluntary system that's very haphazard.” Overall, Liebman concludes: “Our watchdog agency isn't doing much watching,” and what watching it does “is going to waste.”

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  • Premiered: January 1, 1983
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  • Premise: PBS's primary public-affairs documentary series, `Frontline' focuses on one (usually timely) topic each program. Overseen since its inception by executive producer David Fanning, it has been honored regularly over the years, winning 34 DuPont-Columbia awar… (more)

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