Medicine: Damaging Drugs

A trio of University of Florida researchers reports in the A.M.A. Journal that a significant number of hospital admissions and deaths are caused by adverse reactions to ethical drugs, many of them prescribed by physicians for seriously ill patients. The researchers base their conclusions on a three-year study of 6,063 admissions to the University of Florida Teaching Hospital at Gainesville. They found that 177, or about 3%, of the admissions were due to drug-induced or exacerbated illnesses, many of them serious. Fifty of the illnesses were considered "moderate" by hospital authorities; 116, or nearly two-thirds, were severe or potentially life-threaten ing....