Sunday, September 16, 2007

Deaths from Drug Reactions Up

Did you see this week's news story about prescription drugs? A new report found that deaths and side effects from prescription drugs have nearly tripled.

As we've been talking about in the past two weeks, a big part of the problem is that drug companies simply haven't told our doctors or us the whole truth when it comes to the side effects of drugs. But together we can make them come clean. Please write a short letter to your local newspaper, urging drug companies to tell the whole truth.


Here is a short excerpt from this week's story. to read the complete story go to

By Lindsey Tanner

CHICAGO (AP) - Reports of dangerous side effects and deaths from widely used medicines almost tripled between 1998 and 2005, 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.

Potent narcotic painkillers including Oxycontin, sold generically as oxycodone, were among 15 drugs most often linked with deaths in the study. Drugs frequently linked with serious nonfatal complications included insulin, the arthritis drugs Vioxx and Remicade, and the antidepressant Paxil.

The report adds to recent criticism of FDA 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 and underscores the importance of recent reports urging far-reaching legislative, policy and institutional changes," the authors said.

The analysis appears in this week's issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Its authors are Thomas Moore and Michael Cohen of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a nonprofit educational group that analyzes drug safety issues; and Dr. Curt Furberg of Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

They 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.

---end excerpt---

Please submit a short letter to your local paper, urging drug makers to tell you, your doctor and your family the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about a prescription drug. You can do so by clicking here:


Steve Blackledge
CALPIRG Legislative Director

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