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Adverse Drug Events & Hospital Acquired Infections
hospitalWith 140,000 people dying each year from adverse drug events and another 88,000 dying from acquired infections makes it a total of 228,000 deaths a year from hospital related harms. This makes it the third leading cause of death in the United States, only behind heart disease and cancer according to the CDC's statistics (National Vital Statistics Report, July 24, 2000, Vol. 48, No. 11, p. 26).

  • All Causes: 2,337,256
  • Heart Disease: 724,859
  • Cancer: 541,532
  • Stroke: 158,448
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: 112,584
  • Accidents: 97,835
  • Pneumonia/Influenza: 91,871
  • Diabetes: 64,751
  • Suicide: 30,575
  • Nephritis: 26,182
  • Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis: 25,192
  • All other causes: 463,427
This shows that each day 640 people and each week 4,384 people are dying from adverse drug events or hospital acquired infections. Stated another way that is 9.7% of all deaths or nearly 1 out of 10 deaths will occur because of a drug mishap or acquired infection in a hospital. This does not include deaths from drug reactions or acquire infections occurring in other health care settings as nursing homes, or out patient clinics, and deaths from adverse drug events that occur in a public setting. This would undoubtedly push the number of deaths to an even higher number.

As the authors of the adverse drug event study have noted little attention has been paid to this enormous problem. In fact, the CDC from their death statistics is not even tracking this problem. And, as with 16,500 NSAID related deaths, adverse drug deaths and hospital acquired infections are being recorded as some other cause of death hiding the true numbers of drug related deaths and increasing the number of deaths under other causes. Unfortunately with billions of dollars made selling drugs on the front end and billions (an estimated 79 billion) made from adverse drug events, from a purely economic perspective, there is little incentive to work to correct this enormous problem.

There is no doubt that hospitals and their staff save lives every day. However, there is no attention being paid to this hidden epidemic that should be addressed. The savings in lives and financial costs to the consumer should make it a number one priority of health care reform in the United States.


Quantifying Adverse Drug Events – Are Systematic Reviews the Answer? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 September 2004 00:00
“The direct medical costs associated with ADEs have been estimated to be in the range of $US30 billion to $US130 billion annually in the US alone. These estimates are even more meaningful when compared with other high cost conditions or diseases, such as diabetes mellitus ($US45.2 billion), obesity ($US70 billion), and cardiovascular disease ($US199.5 billion). Drug-related mortality has been estimated to claim 218,000 lives annually.”

“The importance of quantifying ADEs is particularly apparent in the case of drug treatment for children, women of child-bearing age, and the elderly. Because these population groups are exposed to medications almost entirely in the postmarketing phase of drug use, there is no systematic examination of the outcomes of medication use as would exist if the medication were given as part of the clinical trial.”

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 June 2009 12:52
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Forth Decennial International Conference on Nosocomial and Healthcare-Associated Infections PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 February 2000 00:00
"Each year, approximately 2 million patients in the United States acquire infections while hospitalized for other conditions. These infections account for 88,000 deaths and cost approximately $4.6 billion. Similar infections occur in nursing homes, outpatient clinics, dialysis centers, and other sites of healthcare delivery."


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 June 2009 12:55
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Adverse Drug Events in Hospitalized Patients PDF Print E-mail
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.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 09 August 2009 22:37
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