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 ITV’s “EthiCAL” Addresses Concerns, Questions On Prescription Drugs Among SD County Students

​More than 120 local high school students from throughout the county gathered at the San Diego County Office of Education for the eighth installment of ITV's "EthiCAL" series, posing questions to a panel of experts on whether doctors are too quick to prescribe drugs to young people.

The one-hour show, produced by the Junior Achievement organization and the San Diego County Office of Education, will re-air on ITV Ch. 16 on December 31 at 10:00 a.m.

Students from Patrick Henry, Francis Parker, Hoover, St. Augustine and San Diego High Schools took part in the discussion at the County Office of Education's Joe Rindone Regional Technology Center.

Taking part in the panel were Lawrence Hinman, Director of the Values Institute at University of San Diego; Film Producer ("Side Effects") Holly Mosher; Chief Executive Officer of CONNECT Duane J. Roth; and Child Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Jorge Zapatel.

Former television news anchor Clark Anthony was the moderator of the hour-long television production that aired live on ITV Channel 16.

One of the main ethical issues raised by the students was whether drug companies should be allowed to advertise products with misleading information or before testing is complete. Panelist Lawrence Hinman said, "There is no such things as a safe drug. To be effective there has to be some risks."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures the effectiveness and safety of pharmaceutical drugs. Mosher alleged that 20%-30% of online medication is counterfeit, and pharmaceutical companies are mainly trying to make a profit. "Only the United States and New Zealand advertise prescription drugs on television," she said. "As consumers we should weigh the risks and benefits of all drugs and think of natural ways to cure our illnesses."

It was also noted that several prescription drug researchers are mimicking existing drugs with the intended goal to be more effective and less expensive. Hinman mentioned that consumers should make informed decisions when purchasing prescription drugs. "Usually, older drugs are more effective then the second or third generation drugs. They have been around longer and tested more often then the new drugs on the market," said Hinman.