Of all the potential side-effects from prescription medications, none are more severe than death. Though most people think of medicine as something that helps rather than hurts them, serious injury and death from prescription medications is a lot more common than most people imagine. Drug side effects cause an estimated 770,000 serious injuries and deaths in the U.S. each year. (Ehrenberg, 2012)
In 2009 the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit, linked the deaths of 1,354 people to Avandia based on reports filed by the FDA. (Barlett & Steele, 2011) Then in June of 2010, FDA whistle-blower Dr. David Graham published an article suggesting that Avandia had caused 47,000 more diabetics to suffer heart failure, stroke or death than would have been the case if they had taken an alternative. (Calabresi & Park, 2010) Another drug, Vioxx, is believed to have caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks during the 5 years it was prescribed. (Kotz, 2010)
Drugs such as Phenelzine (Nardil), an MOAI antidepressant, can cause a sudden and sometimes fatal rise in blood pressure if people sway from a strict diet. Olanapine (Zyprexa), an atypical antipsychotic used for schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and off-label for dementia, can cause increased mortality in older adults. Bayer’s statin Baycol had to be removed from the market because of its deadly side effects. In analysis by MedPage and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tallied nearly 65 thousand reports of serious side-effects since 2013 for drugs used to treat 5 minor conditions, including more that 1,600 deaths. (Fauber, et al., 2017)
Just how big of an issue is this? Donald Barlett & James Steele write that “In 2009, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, 19,551 people died in the United States as a direct result of the prescription drugs they took. That’s just the reported number. It’s decidedly low, because it is estimated that only about 10 percent of such deaths are reported. Conservatively, then, the Annual American death toll from prescription drugs considered “safe” can be put at around 200,000. That is three times the number of people who die every year from diabetes, four times the number who die from kidney disease. Overall, deaths from FDA-approved prescription drugs dwarf the number of people who die from street drugs such as cocaine and heroin. They dwarf the number who die every year in automobile accidents. So far, these deaths have triggered no medical crusades, no tough new regulations.” (Barlett & Steele, 2011, p. 114)
This isn’t even counting the 30,000-some people who die every year from overdoses caused by abuse of prescription opiates. When you tally it all together, the deadly side effects from prescription drugs represent one of the most pressing public health threats in Western society.
This page is an excerpt from our book Truth In Medicine. If you want to learn more about which drugs help your family, the dangerous side-effects of medication, or why health costs are so high, get the full eBook on pharmaceutical medicine for just $7.99 (all proceeds go to help children). Learn what Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know and become a better health advocate for your family.