Reported deaths up 155% in the last decade… from prescription drugs

Each year, Britons are dying in their thousands because of the side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Reported deaths are up 155 per cent in a decade – and experts are seeking new safeguards, writes Nina Lakhani in today’s Independent on Sunday.

Thousands of patients are dying each year as a result of side effects from pills prescribed by GPs and hospital doctors.

And while the number of deaths from suspected adverse reactions to prescription drugs has more than doubled in the past 10 years to 973 last year, medical experts warn that as few as one in 10 deaths and other serious complications are being reported.

Doctors’ poor prescribing skills and repeated failures to recognise accurately adverse drug reactions in patients have seen deaths multiply by about two and half times since 1996.

Experts are calling for a revamp of the current warning systems designed to alert doctors to potentially lethal prescription drug treatments.

They believe tens of thousands of patients suffer life-threatening, disabling or other serious reactions that need hospital treatment because of a failure to spot and report many dangerous side effects and drug interactions quickly enough.

One study estimated that the equivalent of all the beds from seven general hospitals – 5,600 places – are occupied with patients suffering from drug reactions at any one time, costing the NHS more than £450m each year. Researchers believe around 70 per cent of adverse reactions could be avoided through better training, computerised prescribing systems and staff spending more time talking and listening to patients.

The latest revelations follow The Independent on Sunday’s exclusive report two months ago highlighting the dramatic rise in the number of drugs that doctors are now prescribing.

The drugs most often reported to have produced fatal reactions in patients (1996-2006)

Clozapine: an anti-psychotic

Infliximab: an anti-inflammatory

Diclofenac: an anti-inflammatory

Warfarin: prevents blood clots

Olanzapine: an anti-psychotic

Venlafaxine: an anti-depressant

Aspirin: prevents blood clots

Methotrexate: treats cancer and rheumatoid arthritis

Paroxetine: an anti-depressant

Rofecoxib (Vioxx): an anti-inflammatory

Source: MHRA

Please read the entire article over at the Independent on Sunday

And why are these drugs so potentially dangerous to so many people? The simple answer is that drug companies are rushing sub-standard drugs to market, ignoring or rewriting research studies that do not give them the answers they want.

Profits before patients.


One Response to “Reported deaths up 155% in the last decade… from prescription drugs”

  1. truthman30 Says:

    I couldn’t agree more,
    Basically, these drugs are of poor quality and some are defective, like Paroxetine(Seroxat). They are rushed to market, and the greedy regulators (MHRA/FDA) are all too keen to help the pharmas push these compounds quickly onto the public.

    GSK knew that Seroxat would cause withdrawal and aggression from their early clinical trials ( but of course they didn’t submit all their data), there were also reports of dead baby rats and deformed baby rats in clinical trials, so were they aware of the possibility of Seroxat birth defects? If they were, then they ceartainly won’t admit it.

    I wouldn’t trust any pharmacuetical drugs or any pharmaceutical company, their prime motive is profit above everything else. Safety and Effectivness comes last. But if I were to trust a pharma drug , it would be one manufacturored from a company with a good reputation, certainly not GSK. They have produced more defective and dangerous drugs than any Pharma that I know of…

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