The diet drugs that are thought to have laid at the root of the emergence of PPH, or Primary pulmonary hypertension, also known as Primary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), are no longer on the market. Still, that hasn't stopped the lawsuits, or their consideration, against the manufacturers of Redux (dexfenfluramine), Pondimin (fenfluramine) and Fen-Phen (fenfluramine and phentermine) together with the doctors and weight-loss centers that prescribed the diet drugs like candy to over-zealous, overweight Americans.
Let's face it—next to smoking weight loss is a huge issue with millions of Americans. It doesn't help that the advent of the fast food industry, together with modern conveniences and the sedentary lifestyle that such conveniences produce, collectively succeed in packing on the pounds. Hell, even the act of getting up to turn off a lamp, change the channel or go to the library for an encyclopaedia contributed to a bit of regular exercise we no longer get, thanks to remotes, clap-on/clap-off systems and the internet.
The result is that most people are packing a few too many pounds, while obese people are morbidly obese. In the midst of the accompanying desperation to lose that weight, together with time constraints that make regular exercise difficult, medicinal intervention seemed the quick, easy and effective solution—and manufacturers, and doctors were more than willing to play.
Enter PPH, which began appearing three decades ago. A definitive cause has yet to be found and there is no known cure. What has been learned is that in many cases, the pulmonary condition was linked to the appetite suppressants now banned. However that doesn't solve the problem, in that PPH is difficult to diagnose, and symptoms can often take ten years to emerge.
Primary pulmonary hypertension affects the blood vessels in the lungs and causes death within four years in 45% of its victims. Patients who use appetite suppressants for three months or more are at increased risk. Estimates are that between one in 22,000 and one in 44,000 individuals will develop the disorder each year.
To that end the American Heart Association estimates that 500 to 1000 new cases of PPH are diagnosed in the US every year. That gives you some idea of not only the sheer percentage of the population that routinely battles obesity, but the sheer popularity of the diet drugs and appetite suppressants that were inhaled in desperation before they were pulled from the market due to health concerns, and serious risk factors.
In light of the sheer number of drugs with questionable safety records allowed by federal regulators to remain on the market today, you have to know that when the FDA takes steps to undertake a complete ban of a substance from the market, you know that the situation must have been serious.
Even so, manufacturers have been accused of marketing the drugs and earning a boatload of revenue from their sales without adequately testing the drugs. And doctors, together with weight-loss centers, stand accused of dispensing the drugs while knowing full well of their side effects, risks and safety issues.
READ MORE PPH LEGAL NEWS
A medication that was approved, prescribed, and touted as the holy grail for weight loss.
We know now that the holy grail was a fool's idol. Sadly, while some Americans face an early visit by the Grim Reaper for simply following their doctor's instructions ten or more years ago, there are those who cashed in during the 1990s and are still reaping the rewards today.
That's not fair. And the courts are making sure that the fairness factor is properly weighed against the moral indignation, and the greed of too many for far too long.