Pharmaceutical

Drug companies enjoy profits from off-label sales of HGH

Pills Stethascope on Money 435x289 Drug companies enjoy profits from off label sales of HGHIt seems people will do anything to delay the effects of aging, including taking human growth hormones (HGH), which have never been proven to be effective in helping people stay young. HGH is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat a rare growth defect in children and to treat a small number of conditions such as short bowel syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome, a congenital disease that causes reduced muscle tone and a lack of hormones in sex glands. Doctors say 90 percent of legitimate patients who use HGH are children with stunted growth.

HGH is not approved as a fountain of youth or to build stronger bodies for athletes, and thus people who have wanted the hormones for reasons other than medical have had to purchase them from other countries, including China, India and Mexico.

In 2006, the FDA became wise to this illegal flow of unregulated HGH into the country and began a huge crackdown. One would think this would curtail the abuse of HGH, however Big Pharma has stepped in to satisfy these HGH-hungry masses. According to an Associated Press investigation, from 2005 to 2011, inflation-adjusted sales of HGH were up 69 percent. Sales of the average prescription of HGH rose just 12 percent during that same time.

The people who swear by HGH as a youth dew tend to be affluent, aging populations. It is advertised as a miracle drug that offers rapid muscle growth, fat reduction, and youthful energy, and it is endorsed by older celebrities such as Suzanne Somers. And that draws them back to doctors, who have the authority to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, or conditions for which the drug is not approved. For those in search of youth, HGH prescriptions are written for conditions such as fatigue and bone thinning.

HGH is a synthesized form of the growth hormone made by the pituitary gland. Using it could cause potential harm, experts say. The hormone can cause swelling in the hands, feet and breasts. It can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome and contribute to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Though the drug is most predominantly used legitimately in children, a whopping 40 percent of the side effects that were reported to the FDA during the past year regarding HGH involved people 18 years and older. The average age was 53, and the oldest patients were in their 80s.

Drug companies support the FDA’s crackdown on illegal HGH coming into the country, but it’s beginning to look like their chief concern is protecting their profits. While drug companies cannot market drugs for conditions for which they are not approved, they still are willing to sell them while enjoying massive profits.

Source: AP