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Adverse Drug Events in Hospitalized Patients PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 22 January 1997 00:00
"Drug-related morbidity and mortality have been estimated to cost more that $136 billion a year in United States. These estimates are higher than the total cost of cardiovascular care or diabetes care in the United States. A major component of these costs is adverse drug reactions (ADE). In addition, ADEs may account for up to 140,000 deaths annually in the United States. More than 2 decades ago, seminal work by the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Project estimated that approximately 30% of hospitalized patients experience adverse events attributable to drugs and that from 3% to 28% of all hospital admissions are related to ADEs. Moreover, fatal ADEs are expected in approximately 0.31% of hospitalized patients in the United States.

... At the LDS Hospital [A teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Utah School of Medicine] approximately 2.4% of all patients develop an ADE. These are not rare and unusual events; indeed, as in the Harvard Medical Practice Study, they are quite common. In a recent study the rate of ADEs was even higher at 6.5% … If these figures are extrapolated to the United States as a whole, using LDS Hospital ADE occurrence rates and an estimated 32 million yearly hospital visits, then over 770,000 hospitalized patients in the United States experience an ADE, and the direct hospital costs to treat these events are approximately $1.56 billion annually. If a higher rate of ADEs is assumed, as in the study by Bates et al, then the annual figure for hospital costs alone would be $4.2 billion and the national excess hospital length of stay attributable to ADEs would exceed 1.5 million hospital days. These costs reflect only the direct hospital costs to treat ADEs only, and they do not include the costs associated with outpatient treatment or disability, which could raise this estimate by an order of magnitude. Indeed, 1 estimate put the costs of drug misadventures in the United States at $79 billion. As others have noted, little attention has been focused on the detection and of ADEs by hospitals, professional organizations, or by the government."


Classen, David C. MD MS, Pestotnik, Stanley L. MS RPh, Evans R. Scott PhD, Lloyd James F., and Burke John P. MD, "Adverse Drug Events in Hospitalized Patients: Excess Length of Stay, Extra Costs, and Attributable Mortality", JAMA, January 22, 1997, Vol. 277, Num. 0, pp. 301-306

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