Thousands die from medication side effects

17th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Between 3,500 and 4,000 people die annually in the Netherlands due to the side effects of the medicines they are taking, according to a new investigation.

17 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — Between 3,500 and 4,000 people die annually in the Netherlands due to the side effects of the medicines they are taking, according to a new investigation.

The toll amounts to 10 per day and about half the deaths could have been avoided, current affairs programme Zembla claims.

The special report, to be broadcast on Thursday on Nederland 3 at 9pm, reveals that about 2,000 people die in the home after suffering from the side effects of their medication.

The director of Dutch medication monitoring centre Lareb, Kees van Grootheest, told the programme that about 5 percent of annual hospital admissions in the Netherlands, or 90,000 cases, relate to the side effects of medication.

"If you convert the foreign literature on the subject to the situation in the Netherlands that would give you the figure of about 2,000 deaths," he said.

"On top of that, another 1,500 to 2,000 patients die as a result of medication they are prescribed in hospitals. All together this adds up to 3,500 to 4,000 people," Van Grootheest said.

A professor of clinical epidemiology at Leiden University, Frits Rosendaal, tells Zembla that this is a reasonable estimate.

Rosendaal said international research indicated a half to three-quarters of such deaths were avoidable. The wrong medication or the wrong dosage is sometimes prescribed for patients, he said. On other occasions, the patient continues to take the medication for too long.

Zembla's programme "'dodelijke bijwerkingen" (deadly side effects) focuses on three medications: a pain killer, a contraceptive pill and an anti-depressant.

The programme asks whether the side effects can be avoided and whether government inspection of medicines is adequate.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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