The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Drugs That Don’t Work

Sep 18, 2023

On September 12, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a decongestant used in at least 250 oral flu and cold medicines sold in pharmacies all over the country doesn’t work.

The evidence that this decongestant ingredient, phenylephrine, doesn’t work in oral medicines is not new. Some pharmacists petitioned the FDA to remove this drug from the market all the way back in 2007—16 years ago. Perhaps the FDA’s slow action is because about 1.8 billion dollars worth of these medicines—including some Sudafed, Tylenol, NyQuil, Theraflu, Mucinex and other products—were sold just last year alone.

While the FDA panel is finally now saying that phenylephrine is not effective as an oral decongestant, it is not saying that it is unsafe—it just doesn’t work.

It is expected that the big drug companies involved will challenge any action the FDA may take—in the courts, Congress and maybe even in the White House—to delay oral phenylephrine being banned. Not surprising when they are making money hand over fist in their sales of their ineffective products.