Coalition for Medical Progress. FAQ – “What are your comments regarding frequent revelations of the number of people who are killed or injured from properly tested drugs?
The main purpose of safety testing with animals is to protect the healthy volunteers and patients who participate in clinical trials. When it comes to world-wide prescription you would need to have vast animal and human trials to find the sort of side effect that takes place in 1 in 500 patients, say.
A recent BMJ paper, shows that at least 93% of the adverse drug reactions that cause hospital admissions are to do with type A responses, i.e. the drug did exactly as expected. For example, aspirin can cause bleeding, this is known but people don’t follow the guidance. Or – as yet another paper suggested – they don’t tell their doctors that they are taking complementary medicines that might interact. The authors estimated at least three quarters of the admissions could have been avoided if best medical practice had been used.
Also the drugs that cause the problems – aspirin, digitalis, warfarin, diuretics – are at least 30 years old. Drugs being discovered using modern toxicology cause far fewer adverse reactions than the older ones.
So when prescription medicines cause problems it is usually because patient compliance and monitoring was not as good as it might be or the side effect was so rare as to have been missed in human trials as well as animal ones.”