Adverse Pharmaceutical Reactions Major Cause of Death;

Marijuana Does Not Kill But Must Be Approved By FDA?

April 15, 1998

A report published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association says that adverse drug reactions appear to be a major cause of death among hospital patients in the United States.

A new analysis by researchers at the University of Toronto, who examined 39 studies, estimated that an average of 106,000 deaths at U.S. hospitals in 1994 were due to bad reactions to drugs.

"Serious adverse drug reactions are frequent ... more so than generally recognized," the researchers said. "Fatal adverse drug reactions appear to be between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, followed by cancer and stroke. Other major causes are accidents, pulmonary disease.

The report estimated the number of deaths in 1994 from adverse reactions at between 137,000 and 76,000 with 106,000 the mean.

If the higher end is correct, drug reactions would be the fourth leading cause of death behind heart disease (743,460), cancer (529,904) and stroke (150,108), the study said.

If the low end is accurate drug reactions would be the sixth leading cause of death, behind the top three plus pulmonary disease (101,077) and accidents (90,523).

The report included patients admitted to hospitals with adverse drug reactions and those whose reactions occurred after they were admitted.

The study excluded errors in administration, noncompliance with instructions and drug abuse. Obviously, the drugs in question also save the lives of many people.

In the context of the medical marijuana debate, which  of course  is not mentioned in the study, we are often told that marijuana must be proven "safe effective" by the FDA. The FDA approved all of these drugs, but they kill tens of thousands of people every year. There has never been a fatal reaction to marijuana in thousands of years and billions of doses.

Read the Canadian article.

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