A new FDA Public Health Advisory for antidepressants goes in part like this:
FDA is asking manufacturers to change the labels of 10 drugs to include stronger cautions and warnings about the need to monitor patients for the worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidal ideation, regardless of the cause of such worsening.
In fact, the risk of suicide is already indicated (though admittedly, in language uglier even than that) but is currently relegated to a text-heavy foldout few consumers are likely to read. With the information moved to the more prominent warnings section -- one all doctors should cover with patients prior to prescribing a drug -- some patients may pause before saying yes to antidepressants.
But will that hurt the drug stocks? Probably not too much. Patients are getting used to hearing side effects detailed in TV ads -- some quite serious. Patients also trust their doctors. Bottom line: If you liked the drug stocks before, you can like them still.
Fool Alyce Lomax recently reported that GlaxoSmithKline's
Alyce also coveredForest Laboratories'
On the balance, however, this is a story of greater import to patients -- and prospective patients -- than to investors. At least, it should be.
Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own any of the stocks mentioned.