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Injuries, Deaths Tied to Consumer Drugs Rise Sharply
Date:9/10/2007

'Adverse events' more than doubled between 1998 and 2005

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of serious adverse drug events more than double between 1998 and 2005 in the United States, as did the number of related deaths, a new study found.

"This is the first study to ask the question, 'Are we gaining ground or losing ground in drug safety and improving patient safety in prescription drugs?' And I think, inescapably, the conclusion is that we're losing ground," said study lead author Thomas Moore, of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, in Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

"This is a subject the public or health professionals just don't like to think about," Moore added. "Doctors don't like to think that what they're doing could be hurting patients. The pharmaceutical industry wants the public focused on benefits, and many people just want to believe this drug is going to help them. We need to focus on this problem. We can manage the risks of prescription drugs if we start to pay attention."

The study results are published in the Sept. 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

This is not the first peek into drug-safety issues in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently unveiled a set of initiatives intended to counter growing criticism of its operations and to bolster the country's health safety net. The recommendations include a pilot project to assess the safety of drugs after they're on the market, as well as initiatives to improve communication both within and without the agency.

Many of the initiatives are in response to recommendations in an Institute of Medicine report issued in 2006 and prepared at the request of the FDA. Those recommendations included a push for stronger post-marketing surveillance of approved drugs.

For the new study, Moore and his colleagues analyzed all serious adverse drug events and medication errors repor
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