I encourage you all to watch, and share, the WONDERFUL news story from Carte Blanche, a South African investigative journalism television series, about the dangers of fluoroquinolones. It’s one of the best pieces of journalism I have seen regarding fluoroquinolone adverse-effects. You can view the story through the Carte Blanche web site, or through Youtube:
Carte Blanche tells the stories of pain brought on by fluoroquinolones for three South African “floxies,” Tracy Witelson, Gerald Ludwinsky, and Debbi Kinrade. Their stories are powerful and poignant, and they thoroughly describe the horror of fluoroquinolone toxicity.
The Carte Blanche journalist that interviews the victims of fluoroquinolones, as well as Bayer representatives and representatives of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), does a WONDERFUL job of compassionately framing the stories of the victims, and pushing the pharmaceutical and SAHPRA representatives by asking them tough questions, challenging them, and doing what he can to hold them accountable for the harm done by fluoroquinolones.
In an exchange that is simply wonderful, journalist Derek Watts goes over the newly (2016-2018) highlighted warnings included on the FDA warning labels for fluoroquinolones (including a warning that notes that fluoroquinolones can cause permanent disability, one that notes that the risks of fluoroquinolone use outweigh the benefits, one that notes that fluoroquinolones cause blood-sugar irregularities and mental health adverse-effects, and one that notes that fluoroquinolones increase the risk of aortic aneurysm and dissection) with Dr. Naren Jairam, the Bayer Pharmaceuticals representative. Dr. Jairam dismissively asserts that these warnings are nothing new. Watts responds by asking Jairam why Bayer hasn’t been communicating the dangers of fluoroquinolones with doctors (much less patients). Jairam claims that Bayer supports responsible use of antibiotics and that Bayer has advocated that fluoroquinolones not be used as first-line antibiotics. Watts CALLS HIM OUT and says, “That’s not true,” and notes that millions of prescriptions for non-life-threatening infections are being given all over the world. It is truly wonderful to see a quick-witted journalist asking tough questions of pharmaceutical company representatives, and calling them out when they lie and mislead.
In another exchange, Watts asks Jairam, “Is your intention to obfuscate or clarify?” VERY good question – thank you for having the chutzpah to ask, Mr. Watts!
Watts also confronts Eric Chauke, Bayer’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, by asking him to show that Bayer is communicating the risk of harm by fluoroquinolones with doctors. Chauke shows Watts some general pamphlets on antibiotic stewardship, and Watts pushes back – noting that there is nothing in what Chauke is showing him that adequately communicates that fluoroquinolones can have “dreadful side-effects” or that adequately communicates that fluoroquinolones should not be used as first-line antibiotics.
Watts also asks Professor Marc Blockman, a representative of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), some tough questions. He asks whether or not the SAHPRA warnings are adequate, and why SAHPRA can’t send a communication to doctors stating, “don’t prescribe these drugs unless it’s life threatening and there is no alternative?” Patient advocates have been asking the same thing for years, and it’s nice to hear a journalist ask this question to a drug regulator.
I love how tough Watts is on the Bayer and SAHPRA representatives. He is doing a wonderful job at being a journalist that brings to light stories of victims, and holding those in-power responsible for their role in victimizing people.
Please watch and share the Carte Blanche piece on fluoroquinolones. It’s wonderful, and it would be great for it to be internationally “viral.”