How Safe Are the Prescription Drugs We Take? Monitoring Adverse Events and Recalls

By Ardito, Stephanie C. | Searcher, June 2012 | Go to article overview

How Safe Are the Prescription Drugs We Take? Monitoring Adverse Events and Recalls


Ardito, Stephanie C., Searcher


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In September 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the latest U.S. prescription use drug data. From 2007 to 2008, 48% of American adults used at least one prescription drug; 31% of adults were prescribed two or more drugs; and 11% of the population took five or more drugs. One in every five children and nine out of 10 older Americans used at least one prescription drug; 37% of Americans 60 and older took five or more medications daily [www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db42.pdf].

Increasingly, more and more children are taking medications for asthma, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and antidepressant/social anxiety. This is in addition to their growing use of diabetes drugs arising from the obesity epidemic that is affecting all age groups. As we grow older, many of us will be prescribed medications to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis, bone loss, and a plethora of other age-related conditions.

Nearly every day, we are bombarded with news about drug safety issues, shortages of vital anesthesia and cancer drugs, the shutting down of contaminated pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, or the settlement of class action suits due to life-threatening damages caused by prescription drugs.

With the number of possible prescriptions to choose from, how do we determine what drugs are safe from serious side effects? How do we know our physicians are staying current and not being swayed by pharmaceutical reps in recommending newer drugs that are, in actuality, no more effective than older, safer drugs? Can we be assured that pharmaceutical companies are not hiding clinical trial results when launching new drugs?

The Number of Adverse Events Is Rising

In 2010, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) received nearly 759,000 reports of adverse drug events, an increase of almost 169,000 from the 581,000 cases in 2009 [www.fda. gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Sur veillance/AdverseDrugEffects/ucm070434.htm]. When the private, nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) issued its 2011 report, "State of Health Care Quality" [www.ncqa.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=wmpxiKWV gP0%3d&tabid=36], the organization found that 700,000 emergency department visits a year were a direct result of adverse drug events, with 25% of those visits coming from adults 65 years and older. In addition, 49% of patients received at least one inappropriate medication, with nearly 25% of all Medicare patients prescribed one potentially harmful medication. NCQA estimated that adverse drug events are responsible for $4 billion of extra medical costs annually.

Compounding the drug safety problem is the rising number of fraud cases being brought against pharmaceutical companies. Many prescription medications have been marketed by some of the major drug companies for uses other than what the FDA approved them for. Other companies are overcharging Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries for prescription drugs. Moreover, some companies have paid competitors not to manufacture and sell cheaper generic versions of their drugs. When caught, in most cases, the pharmaceutical companies have paid exorbitant fines, often billions of dollars.

Beside the fines, the government can require companies to enter into corporate integrity agreements, in which the offending firm agrees to regulatory oversight, making assurances that it will not defraud the government again. However, because many pharmaceutical companies are the sole suppliers of critical drugs, the companies will remain in business and are not punished any further. The Department of Justice and the FDA are working on additional solutions to the problem, such as taking away a company's patent rights if the company is accused of fraud. Furthermore, a bill has been introduced in Congress that would allow the Department of Justice to go after individuals within the company who knowingly defraud the public, as well as the company itself, as is customary now. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

How Safe Are the Prescription Drugs We Take? Monitoring Adverse Events and Recalls
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.