Thursday, November 18, 2010

Health council calls for better testing of drugs

From the Toronto Star:
Some prescription drugs the federal government approves for the market may not be as safe as people think they are, says a new report from the Health Council of Canada.

“Pharmaceuticals offer significant health benefits, but the risks associated with their use in the real world remain largely unknown when they enter the market and large numbers of people start taking them,” says the report released Wednesday. “This can leave users of medicines exposed to unanticipated drug effects.”

The report noted that some drug safety issues, such as the 2004 recall of the anti-inflammatory painkiller known as Vioxx, gain a lot of media attention, but the problems are not limited to such high-profile cases.

“Most Canadians are not aware of the limitations inherent in pre-market testing of prescription drugs, nor do they realize that there is no systematic scrutiny of people’s experiences with drugs after they have been approved and are available for sale,” says the report. ...more

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