February 24

Drug Casualties Continue to Increase_Quarterwatch

According to the database maintained by the National Highway Safety Administration there were 34 deaths alleged to be attributable to defective Toyota cars (13 of those deahts occurred between 2005 and 2010). Toyota has recalled 8.5 million cars.

Yet, defective FDA-approved drugs that kill thousands of people every week!

The latest Quaterwatch report by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, that analyzing serious adverse events reported to the FDA’s Medwatch found that the number of consumers harmed and killed by FDA-approved prescription drugs keeps rising.

"In the third quarter of 2009 the steady increase continued in reported serious, disabling and fatal adverse drug events. Cases meeting the QuarterWatch criteria totaled 29,065 cases, an increase of 2,256 cases (8.4%) from the same quarter in the previous year. For the first three quarters of 2009, combined case reports increased by 8.1% from the first three quarters of 2009."

GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug, Avandia, and AstraZeneca’s, antipsychotic, Seroquel, are the two worst drugs–if one considers the magnitude of harm produced by these drugs, coupled with these drugs’ controversial (at best) clinical value.

According to Quaterwatch analysts,

"Rosiglitazone (AVANDIA). More than 1000 reports of patient deaths were received for
rosiglitazone in the first three quarters of 2009, more than any other drug we monitor.
Rosiglitazone is an oral medication for treating Type 2 or adult onset diabetes. Most deaths were
attributed to cardiovascular causes, a problem for which the FDA has required warnings.
While these cases do not appear to signal previously undetected risks of rosiglitazone, the large
number of reports alleging serious and fatal injuries associated with rosiglitazone further reinforces concerns about its cardiovascular safety. The company, GlaxoSmithKline, told us it believed most
reports were generated by lawsuits.
In February 2010 the FDA announced it was conducting an overall safety review of
rosiglitazone and would present its findings to a special advisory committee meeting in July."

• Quetiapine (SEROQUEL, SEROQUEL XR). In the third quarter of 2009, quetiapine,
a drug approved for several severe mental disorders, was the suspect drug in more
possible cases of diabetes than all other drugs combined.
AstraZeneca, which
manufactures this best-selling antipsychotic drug, told us it believed most of the diabetes
cases were related to lawsuits. The mandatory Medication Guide to warn patients about
the risk of diabetes does not primarily use the word “diabetes” but rather describes the
disorder as “high blood sugar (hyperglycemia),” potentially minimizing this serious risk."


The FDA has been shown to be complicit in its failure to act–despite a mounting epidemic of drug-induced catastrophes.
A mountain of evidence documents the harm these drugs have produced–and internal documents confirm that manufacturers used corrupt practices to market these hazardous drugs.

 Healthcare overhaul must include a shift at the policy level: FDA’s drug safety policy must be geared toward effectively reducing preventable drug-induced deaths. 

 Vera Hassner Sharav

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