Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Prescription Drug Safety Issues

The following report appeared on news-medical.net:

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a record number of complaints regarding drug side effects and other related health problems in 2004, according to a published report.

There were 422,500 adverse-event reports from pharmaceutical companies, health professionals and patients, almost 14 percent more than the 370,887 reports filed in 2003; the 2004 total, expected later this year, is not predicted to vary significantly from this estimate.

The year 2004 saw increased demands and questions about prescription drug safety. A senior FDA official Paul Seligman, director of the FDA's Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Sciences, says the rise reflects a surge in prescription drug use, not an increase in health risk; there are more drugs on the market and more use of pharmaceuticals in general, and clearly, when you have more products on the market, you're likely to have more side effects.

Prescription drug sales reached a historic high totaling $235 billion nationally in 2004, up 8.3 percent from 2003 and more than triple the 1995 volume, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical market research firm.

Most of the reports to the FDA come from drug manufacturers, which are required by the FDA to file details of all known adverse events involving their products. Doctors, nurses and patients also file, but on a voluntary basis. Consequently the annual totals are believed to reflect only a percentage of the actual number of serious drug reactions and problems."

It is really hard to imagine that over 422,000 complaints were filed. Imagine how many did not file complaints. This is a huge problem for the medical system.

The other eye-popping statistic in this report is that drug sales for 2004 were $235 billion!! With sales like that, is there any wonder that the drug companies will do whatever is necessary to keep the good times rolling?

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