Drug injuries & deaths

Medication deaths & injuries in U.S. doubled from 1998 to 2005, new study says

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine states that "serious adverse drug events" have more than doubled between 1998 and 2005. "Serious adverse drug events" are those causing death, birth defects, disability, or which put people in a hospital or were life-threatening.

According to the study, more than 467,000 such events were reported to the Food & Drug Administration during the period, rising from 34,966 annually at the start of the period to $89,842 annually at the end. The number of deaths due to prescribed medications jumped from 5,519 to 15,107 during the study period.

Researchers blamed the increase on a growing population, more intensive use of drug therapy, and the use of new biotech drugs. A disproportionate number of deaths and injuries were related to the use of pain medications and drugs that attack the body's immune system.

Consumer advocates and the U.S. Congress have criticized the FDA for approving drugs that are later shown to have dangerous side effects.