Adverse reactions from pharmaceutical drugs kill and injure millions of innocent patients each and every year.
In the United States, for example, it has been estimated that a staggering 2,216,000 hospitalized patients in the U.S. have serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) each year, whilst 106,000 have fatal ADRs. This means that such reactions are between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
When examining these figures, it should be noted that they specifically exclude ADRs that were caused by errors in drug administration, noncompliance, overdose, drug abuse, therapeutic failures, and suchlike. In other words, only ADRs that occurred in patients who were prescribed drugs by physicians - in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions - and who dutifully took these drugs as instructed, were counted. As such, were factors such as errors in drug administration and overdose to be included in the figures, the number of deaths and injuries would be higher still.
Outside of the United States, the picture in other countries is just as bad.
In Sweden, for example, more than 3 percent of all deaths seem to be caused by adverse reactions to medical drugs. This makes fatal adverse drug reactions the 7th most common cause of death in that country.
In the UK, 6.5% of hospital admissions are known to be the result of an adverse reaction. Total admissions in 2006 were 16 million, which means that 1,040,000 patients were there as a result of the drugs they were prescribed. As a result, the UK’s National Health Service is currently spending nearly £2bn a year treating patients who have had an adverse reaction to drugs prescribed for them by doctors.
In Europe as a whole, drug side-effects including deaths, birth defects and disability are the fifth biggest cause of death in hospitals, but reports on these dangers are being kept secret.
The ADR statistics for specific drugs and drug categories are also shocking.
A report on adverse reactions to antibiotics in the United States, for example, released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in August 2008, shows that antibiotics put 142,000 patients into hospital emergency rooms each year.
Meanwhile, at least 800,000 deaths and 500,000 major strokes worldwide have been caused by betablockers, a class of drugs used to supposedly cut the risk of a heart attack after surgery; whilst Avandia, a diabetes drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, has alone been estimated to have caused as many as 205,000 heart attacks, strokes and death from 1999 to 2006.
Nevertheless, and despite these statistics, national drug and healthcare agencies refuse to act regarding concerns about ADRs or simply brush them aside. Moreover, even when investigations are carried out by such agencies, they are sometimes conducted in secret. When one bears in mind also the fact that the number and severity of serious adverse events are sometimes not disclosed by drug companies - either before or after their drugs are approved - it becomes disturbingly clear that patients are being deliberately and criminally misled regarding the dangerous and often lethal side effects of these chemicals.