The independent non-profit organization, Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), has released its annual QuarterWatch report for the year 2014. QuarterWatch monitors the safety of prescription medications by tracking reports of adverse drug events submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by drug manufacturers, health professionals, and consumers.
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It is estimated that adverse drug events are responsible for 100,000 to 200,000 patient deaths and 1 to 2 million hospitalizations each year. Nevertheless, the FDA, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), does not publish annual reviews of injuries and deaths caused by adverse reactions to prescription drugs. The ISMP’s QuarterWatch thus provides an invaluable public service to consumers or anyone else interested in the safety of prescription medications.
A few facts from the report:
- “FDA received 833,076 new reports of adverse drug events” in 2014 – “an increase of 12.7% from 2013”
- 35% of total reports (293,810 reports) “indicated fatal, disabling, or other serious injuries that occurred in the U.S.”
- Reports of serious injuries in the U.S. “increased by 59,531 cases (25.4%) in 2014”
- The QuarterWatch report singles out a few drugs, such as Humira, Enbrel, and Lipitor, for leading numbers of reported adverse drug events