We have a general election coming up very soon in the UK and it’s interesting to watch politicians scramble for votes.
A perfect illustration of this has been the recent fiasco surrounding the government’s decision to ban the legal high mephedrone (not to be confused with methedone, the Heroin substitute). The Government’s decision to rush through a ban on the dance drug mephedrone had been politically motivated in order for the Home Secretary to look tough prior to the election.
At the heart of the dispute over mephedrone lies a disagreement as to the relative harm caused by the drug and by criminalising its tens of thousands of users. Mephedrone has been linked with 25 deaths but there is as yet no post mortem evidence of its role in any of them.
Contrast the mepherdone decision against the complete lack of government action over a drug like, say Seroxat.
Or the complete lack of action when it was discovered that GlaxoSmithKline would not face prosecution for deliberately withholding trial data, which revealed not only that Seroxat was ineffective at treating childhood depression but also that it increased the risk of suicidal behaviour in this patient group.
Seroxat, Vioxx and Zyprexa have been directly responsible for the deaths of many tens of thousands of people. They are clearly dangerous drugs. Yet nothing has been done.
It doesn’t matter whether your government is Labour or Tory, Democrat or Republican – the pharmaceutical companies pull the strings and they control the regulators and legislators.