A risk we have to swallow: can we ever be sure that medicines are safe before they hit the market?

Robert Matthews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the increase in safety concerns, safety regulators and scientists are trying to determine the ways to uncover the truth regarding the safety of drugs which various companies are selling. Merck, the maker of Vioxx, a painkiller for arthritis sufferers, withdrew the medicine from market in September, 2004 after the drug was accused of increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is almost impossible to be sure that a drug that appeared safe in trials will not cause ill effects when released onto the market. The problem with accepting the results of trials is that when it comes to detecting side effects most trials are too small to find anything less than decimation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Scientist
Volume185
Issue number2489
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2005

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