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13 September 2007
The annual rates of serious adverse reactions and deaths from a prescribed drug have almost tripled since 1998.
Just 51 drugs – including painkillers and immune system-modifying agents – were responsible for the vast majority of reactions, new figures reveal.
In 2005 – the most recent year when figures have been made available - 15,107 people in America died as the result of taking a prescription drug, while 89,842 people suffered a serious adverse reaction, which resulted in disability, hospital care or a birth defect.
These reactions – all reported to America’s drug regulator, the Food and Drug Admin istration – represent an increase of 2.7 times on figures produced in 1998.
Overall, the FDA received reports of 467,809 deaths and serious adverse reactions between 1998 and 2005.