Scientists lobby UK government over drug dangers

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Here’s the remarkable, hidden truth about pharmaceutical drugs. Adverse reactions to them taken as prescribed are responsible for over a million hospital admissions a year in the UK, and 197,000 deaths across the EU.

These figures are courtesy of the Safer Medicines Trust and the organisation is lobbying the government to take steps to better protect patients.

The June 4, 2011 edition of medical journal The Lancet contains an open letter about this issue to Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. Penned by a group of concerned scientists and doctors, it gives a shocking insight into just how unscientific, unproven and dangerous many drug “treatments” are. Here’s an extended excerpt:

“We are writing to you as a group of clinicians and scientists to express our concern about the escalating problems of drug failures and adverse drug reactions. […] Health care is in a web of crises, many of which are intimately linked to the pharmaceutical industry’s major problems. Adverse drug reactions have reached epidemic proportions and are increasing at twice the rate of prescriptions.

The European Commission estimated in 2008 that adverse reactions kill 197,000 EU citizens annually, at a cost of €79 billion. The cost of new medicines is rising unsustainably, creating an ever-increasing burden on the National Health Service (NHS). Meanwhile, many increasingly prevalent diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, many cancers, and stroke, remain without adequate treatments.

The major reason for the rising cost of new drugs is the fact that more than 90% of them fail in clinical trials. Companies need to recoup the cost of development not only for the drug that succeeds, but for the nine others that fall by the wayside. It is increasingly clear that an important factor contributing to these problems is the over-reliance of the pharmaceutical industry on the use of animals to predict drug behaviour in man. […]

Many studies have shown that animal tests frequently fail to translate to the clinic, with estimates of their ability to predict effects on people as low as 37—50%, or no better than the toss of a coin. Our reliance on animals to establish safety results in the exposure of clinical volunteers and patients to many treatments that are at best ineffective and at worst dangerous. […] We urge you to act now to ensure that the best technologies currently available are used to establish the safety of medicines for patients.”

Read the full letter here.

Look at the “adverse reaction” statistics for any country and they all tell the same story: pharmaceutical drugs are a leading health hazard. It’s no wonder the world of alternative medicine is experiencing such explosive growth. Pharmaceutical drugs have their place, but there is so often a lifestyle change or holistic treatment that will not only get rid of the symptom in question but also (unlike drugs) deal with the underlying cause, too.

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