Who's afraid of the adverse event?

Can drug safety be scary? Apparently so. The FDA's new openness about potential safety problems appears to be scaring some patients off their medications, the Wall Street Journal reports. And according to a Pfizer survey, 89 percent of doctors worry that a deluge of warnings and cautions and "we're looking into this" announcements will prompt people to forego necessary treatment.

Granted, Pfizer has something of a vested interest in that outcome; its stop-smoking drug Chantix has garnered headlines every time the FDA mentioned its investigation into the drug's links with psychiatric side effects. (Indeed, the WSJ story mentions a woman who stopped taking the drug--without talking to her doctor--when she saw the media coverage.) But the FDA is taking the issue seriously, so much so that it plans to overhaul its "early communication" letters to include more info, in hopes of putting potential side effects in context.

- read the WSJ story