Were They Really Unintended Consequences?

Were They Really Unintended Consequences?

The British author, W. Somerset Maugham, related an Arab story that he titled Appointment in Samarra.

The story tells of a servant who bumped into Death in the shape of a lady in the Baghdad marketplace and Death made a threatening gesture at him. Returning to his master’s home, he told his master what happened and asked to borrow a horse so that he could leave Baghdad and ride to Samarra where Death could not find him. After the servant rode off, the master went to the marketplace and saw Death. He asked Death about the threatening gesture toward his servant. Death replied, “That was not a threatening gesture. It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

Meeting Death in Samarra was an “unintended consequence” of seeing Death in the Baghdad marketplace.

Someone is driving and takes a wrong turn and goes east instead of west. Four blocks later, a drunk driver runs a red light and hits the car, severely injuring the driver and passenger. If not for the wrong turn, the victims would have been miles away from the drunk. This was certainly an “unintended consequence” of a wrong turn.

Contrast this with another example. Someone is driving down the road and their cell phone rings. They take their eyes off the road to try to locate the ringing cell phone. At the same time someone pulls in front of them and slows down to make a turn. If they were watching the road it would be annoying but they could easily stop. However, because they took their eyes off the road, they couldn’t stop in time.

While certainly this was an “unintended consequence” of having taken their attention off the road, everyone knows that not paying attention to the road can lead to an accident.

In the first example, most people say it is fate or karma and legally you are not liable. However, in the second example, if the accident caused serious injury to the other car occupants, the distracted driver might actually be charged with a felony. The fact that the second driver’s hitting of another vehicle was an “unintended consequence” is not a defense.


We all know that new drugs are routinely tested on a few thousand specially selected people before they are released on the public. If there were side effects to the use of the drug that appear during these limited public trials, the drug companies are supposed to list them on the drug label.

However, the real test of a new drug is only after it is released to the public. Only after the new drug has been widely used by the general population of people will anyone really understand the side effects of a drug.

Even if some of the side effects of a drug are quite horrible, the drug companies assert that these side effects are really unintended consequences and they are not liable.


Many people who take pain killers or a variety of other drugs find that they have diminished interest in many aspects of their life. They have less energy. They become depressed and are more anxious and irritable. After taking these drugs, some men find that they have become impotent.

Instead of urging the person experiencing impotence to explore other options to try to treat the cause of the problem so that the person could stop taking the impotence — causing drug, the drug companies recommend a new drug to treat the side effect. Hence, Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are prescribed.

If Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra were just harmless sugar pills there might be some reason for their use in this case. However, they carry with them their own serious side effects. Here are some of the side effects taken from the Viagra label:

  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Abnormal Vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Chest pain
  • Cardiac arrest (heart attack)
  • Arthritis
  • Bone pain
  • Depression
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Anorgasmia (inability to reach orgasm)


Viagra was released on the public in 1998 while Cialis and Levitra were released in 2003. On July 8, 2007, the FDA approved updated labeling for Cialis, Levitra and Viagra to warn about reports that some people taking these drugs experienced “sudden vision loss caused when blood flow is blocked to the optic nerve.” In layman’s terms this means that the person couldn’t see.

On October 18, 2007, the FDA announced that people taking a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors are experiencing sudden hearing loss. Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are PDE5 inhibitors. In addition to the sudden hearing loss, some people taking Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are also experiencing tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness.

However, the FDA said that, in most cases, the hearing loss only involved one ear, and about a third of the time it was temporary. Of course this means that two-thirds of the people have more permanent hearing loss.


If the distracted driver is liable for the unintended consequences that result in injury to others, are drug side effects that cause injury or even death to people merely unintended consequences—particularly if the risks are not fully explained to the people being given them?

At what point do we as a nation begin holding the drug companies who rush drugs to market, often with endorsements from doctors who are receiving undisclosed payments from these same drug companies, responsible for the consequences to the public? At what point do we require that medical doctors first try to treat the causes of illnesses instead of merely giving a drug to cover up the symptoms—symptoms often created by known side effects of other drugs?

At Novus Medical Detox we see the consequences of treating symptoms and not causes and often the damage to individuals, families, and society is not easy to repair. Please insist that your doctor explain all the alternatives to drugs and explore ways to treat the cause of your problem and not just the symptoms.

Start Your New Path to Sobriety Today!

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.