How fast should news destroy a business?

Some of this is worthwhile, but the fact is we don't all there is to know about aspirin, and science "changes its mind" all the time. If you want certainty, get a dog.

Sigulair tablets from Walgreens.comIt seems to be happening more-and-more.

Today it's Singulair. (Picture from Walgreens.) It has been linked today with increased risk of suicide.

Who will it be tomorrow?

Maybe it's a product of how little testing drugs now get before FDA approval, maybe it's just paranoia, but it seems an awful lot of drug franchises are getting blown up by the news cycle.

Not just individual drugs, but whole categories can be blown out of the water at a stroke.  Even when the evidence is not entirely clear-cut.

Below the news cycle, of course, is an entire bizarro industry, dedicated to debunking medications and pushing scare stories.

Some of this is worthwhile, but the fact is we don't all there is to know about aspirin, and science "changes its mind" all the time. If you want certainty, get a dog.

The problem, for me, is that we greet all these studies with alarm rather than welcoming them, albeit skeptically. Consumers grow cynical with the bad news, but it's far worse (in the long run) for the industry to suppress it.

Singulair looks like its market is gone before science has a real chance to test the thesis which brought it down. There are other anti-asthma compounds. But what if this is a problem with a whole class of drugs, as was the case with Celebrex?

It's certainly possible, and desireable, to do more studies before we approve any drug, and to keep studying drugs after they are approved. But there are always risks, and no amount of studying can eliminate them entirely.

So what do we do?

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