The U.S. has fairly rigorous standards for approving drugs, but its ability to find side effects after drugs are on the market is kind of laughable. Essentially, the agency has to count on having doctors voluntarily report side effects to catch ones that make it through clinical trials unnoticed. These side effects often go unreported because it's not clear that they're even side effects of one of the medications the patient is taking.
But not anymore. The FDA is teaming up with health insurer WellPoint
No word yet on how much Wellpoint is making from the deal. It doesn't have a monopoly on the record-keeping -- UnitedHealth Group
Wellpoint back-tested its system against its database and determined that it could have discovered the heart-related issues linked to Merck's
This could be seen as an attack on drugmakers -- the system probably would have slowed down sales of GlaxoSmithKline's
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