I’m sure you meant to include the SuperSize fries in the sarcasm…
The early-sixties artificial sweetener was cyclamate. Their was & still is considerable controversy regarding the “science” that purported to show increased bladder tumors in rats (or some other kind of lab animals).
[bold]warning - long explanation ahead[/bold]
A little historical perspective may be useful here. Like most federal agencies that get their funding from Congress (and ultimately taxpayers & voters), the FDA’s work is not done in an ivory tower, but rather in a very politicized environment. In the early 60’s, the US was still reeling from the perceived failure of their government, specificaly, the FDA, to protect us all from the real dangers of Thalidomide. Thus everything the FDA approved or allowed to remain on the market was subject to intense scrutiny & second-guessing. This led to an FDA through which it was extremely difficult to gain approval for any new drug, because they wanted to be absolutely sure not to have a repeat of Thalidomide.
Fast forward to the 80’s. There has been an explosion of new drugs which are clogging up the FDAs pipeline, so that new drugs people were hearing about in the news took, on average, 5 years from recognition of potential to gain approval. There were also new diseases (HIV/AIDS) for which there were NO treatments. Increasingly, people began to realize that while the ultra-strict testing procedures demanded by the FDA had protected from bad drugs, we were paying a price as people were suffering & dying while good treatments were tied up in a bureaucracy in which all too often no decision was the safest way to go.
Currently there is a recognition that a drug that may benefit many will often harm a few. When this happens (e.g. Rezulin/troglitazone is an extremely effective treatment for type 2 Diabetes, but has caused liver failure & death in about 100 people), there is much hand-wringing about whether the benefits outweigh the harm. In the case of Rezulin, a happy solution seems to have been found in which Rezulin should only be used by people with severe diabetes, and with very careful monitoring so that early liver damage can be
detected & the drug stopped before irreversible liver damage has occurred.
Sue from El Paso