These Deadly Rx Meds Aren’t Illegal, but They Should Be

When a prescription drug is deemed to be too dangerous, the logical course of action would be to take it off the market and ban it. Surprisingly, there are dangerous drugs out there that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration haven’t outlawed. They may have been recalled, but they can still be purchased in other forms. Here are just seven deadly Rx meds that are still available.


Woman looking in mirror

Accutane is a powerful drug that rids the face of acne. | lenanet/ iStock/Getty Images Plus

According to, the FDA may pull a drug from the market when the side effects hurt too many people, but other versions of the same drug can still be out there. Such is the case for acne drug Accutane, which was recalled because of the high risk of mental health problems and birth defects. However, generic versions of the same dangerous medication are still available and prescribed, WebMD tells us.


Middle-aged businessman suffering chest pains

A lot of people suffered from heart attacks while on this drug. |

Vioxx is considered to be one of the biggest drug recalls to date since it was prescribed to some 20 million people. The medication reportedly didn’t show life-threatening side effects in early trials, but was later linked to over 20,000 heart attacks. Surprisingly, the FDA okay’d the request for Vioxx to be put back on the market a couple years later, as long as it carried a strict warning on its box.


Woman holding a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon

This treatment is known to not help patients. |

Things get a little tricky when it comes to this cancer treatment. In 2011, the FDA revoked Avastin’s approval for breast cancer use because it didn’t help patients live longer. However, the drug was not completely recalled since it was being used to treat other cancerous tumors. This means that, despite having negative side effects, Avastin can still be prescribed off-label to breast cancer patients.


Cholesterol level chart

Don’t expect this drug to control your cholesterol. |

When this anti-cholesterol med was withdrawn in 2001 it was connected to over 50 deaths. This of course made it illegal for Baycol to be manufactured, sold, or purchased in the U.S. — and many other countries. However, Baycol is widely available on Canadian pharmacy websites and can easily be purchased online.


Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)

Multiple deaths were linked to this drug. |

This controversial appetite suppressant was banned in 2010 because it put patients at such a high risk of heart attack and stroke. (Multiple deaths, including heart-related fatalities, were linked to the drug.) Meridia was just one diet pill on the marketĀ containing sibutramine, the compound that makes this medication so lethal. There is a long list of diet pills since Meridia was banned that contain sibutramine and are stillĀ illegally sold in the U.S.


female holding her belly due to Stomach Ache

This medication increases the likelihood of stomach and heart problems. |

Thanks to TV adds that run non-stop, you’ve probably heard of this medication for arthritis. But Celebrex isn’t exactly safe. In fact, it’s closely related to a drug from the same pharmaceutical company called Bextra, which was recalled because it increased the likelihood of stomach and heart problems. The FDA allowed Celebrex to stay on the market, however, as long as it has extra strict labeling.


Doctor giving someone pills

There are a lot of medications that negatively react with prednisone. |

This anti-inflammatory medication was recalled in 2016, but that was only due to a problem in the pills being manufactured. Prednisone is still prescribed, although it comes with a frightening long list of medications that it reacts negatively with.

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