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4 of the Most Commonly Prescribed Drugs That May Be a Lot More Risky Than Pharma Is Letting On

They are so common no one thinks twice about them: drug ads that tell you about a disease you might have, a pill that could treat it, and tell you to “ask your doctor” if the pill is right for you.

Until 1997, such direct-to-consumer ads did not exist because without a doctor’s recommendation, how could people know if the medication was appropriate or safe? The only thing people knew about drugs and drug risks was from ads they peeked at in medical journals at the doctor’s office.

But after the ads started in 1997, the allergy pill Claritin became a household word, along with Xenical, Meridia, Propecia, Paxil, Prozac, Vioxx, Viagra, Singulair, Nasonex, Allegra, Flonase and of course Lipitor—and Big Pharma became a Wall Street darling.

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