Archives of Internal Medicine September 10, 2007
Between 1998 and 2005 reports of dangerous side effects and deaths from widely used medicines almost tripled, an analysis of U.S. drug data found. The number of deaths and serious injuries from prescription and over-the-counter drugs climbed from 34,966 to 89,842 during the study of reports to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Narcotic painkillers like Oxycontin, (generic-oxycodone) were among 15 drugs most often linked with deaths in the study. Other drugs linked with serious, sometimes fatal complications included the arthritis drugs Vioxx and Remicade, insulin, and the antidepressant Paxil.
The FDA has been criticized for its deficient oversight on drug safety, including its handling of serious problems connected with Vioxx, which was removed from the market in 2004. "This growing toll of serious injury shows that the existing system is not adequately protecting patients", the authors said.
The study's authors analyzed excerpts of reports on serious side effects received by the FDA between January 1998 and December 2005. A total of 467,809 serious complications were found. Reported deaths nearly tripled, rising from 5,519 to 15,107.
A disproportionate number of complications occurred in elderly patients. Women were more often victims than men, 55.5 percent compared to 45.5 percent. Children were involved in 7.4 percent of the problems.
As you can see, the number of serious complications and deaths has tripled.
Do you think these numbers are the acceptable side effect of the drug approach to health care?
Do you think this is a travesty and the FDA needs to do a better job?
How much effect do you think the drug industry's big money pockets plays in this scenario?
Make a comment. Let the rest of us know what you think.
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