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Why Kim Witczak Became a Pharmaceutical Drug Safety Advocate

Why Kim Witczak Became a Pharmaceutical Drug Safety Advocate

For 20 years, Kim Witczak has been a pharmaceutical drug safety advocate, though her profession is marketing. Her advocacy began when her husband died by suicide at 37 after he’d been prescribed Zoloft weeks before for insomnia.

“I’m an accidental drug safety advocate,” she said. “Since my husband died by suicide in August 2003, it became my mission to get warnings placed on these antidepressants.”

She began working with her brother-in-law to get FDA black box suicide warnings placed on medications, and she was successful in doing so. She also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Pfizer over her husband’s death and, in the process, discovered that the company had known suicide was a possible side effect of Zoloft.

“This was something that the drug companies knew about that the consumers didn’t know,” she said. “Their focus was getting drugs on the market and not much on side effects.”

These days, part of her advocacy focus is related to the COVID-19 vaccines. She believes people who are fighting for recognition of and help for vaccine-injured people should take heart—because the struggle has just begun.

“We have to just keep fighting because it’s this product now and could be something else down the road. We need to stand together. … I trusted the system, and it failed. We need to fight collectively for each other,” she said.

Kim Witczak

Those who are familiar with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are aware it’s an imperfect system often described as broken by its critics. So how do vax-injured advocates get the government to own up to the fact that these vaccines have injured many Americans?

Kim says the first step is to stop protecting drug companies from liability.

“We have to remove the liability shield for vaccine manufacturers,” she said. “Now, you have vaccine-injured people having to raise their own money for financial aid for the vax-injured and also so they can be studied. The government should not be shielding drug manufacturers. At least I had the ability to hold Pfizer accountable for my husband’s death, but people injured by the COVID vax have no recourse.”

React-19, an advocacy group representing tens of thousands of vax-injured people, is raising funds to study the injuries the COVID vaccine inflicted upon people. Thus far, it has also awarded more than $500,000 in financial aid to help such folks pay medical bills. In contrast, the federal government has paid compensation to just four vax-injured Americans for a total of about $8,000.

Despite all of the money made from drugs and medicine, the vax-injured go wanting for help. The government has yet to openly admit that millions have been injured by the COVID vax, but public awareness of the problem is growing.

“Health care is big business, and patients are consumers,” Kim said. “We have to remember that. These user fees that we pay—we have to get rid of those.” Kim explained that drug companies pay the FDA to review their products, creating a fox-guarding-the-henhouse situation.

“As individuals we have to be our own advocates,” she said. “Stop, pause, research, and ask questions before proceeding.”

Through the trials of facing down the pharmaceutical industry, Kim draws strength in her life from her religious beliefs.

“Faith is a huge part of my life. After my husband Woody died, I remember crying out to God and saying, ‘Take my pain and use it; it does me no good,’” she said.

While Kim has found courage in her personal struggle to advocate for consumers, she reminds others that we have to guard and protect our own freedoms.

“We should have control over our own bodies—nothing should be mandated,” she said. “We’ve given our power away to what we hear in the media. We don’t ask critical questions. Stop, pause, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to push back.”

Correction: A previous version of the article stated that Kim’s husband had been prescribed Zoloft for anxiety, not insomnia. 

Image credits: Kim Witczak


Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan Barnes

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