Consumers surpass physicians in reporting adverse events

6/11/2008

NEW YORK Between 1998 and 2006, the number of adverse event reports filed by consumers and doctors reversed, according to Food and Drug Administration data.

Physicians reported 48,314 adverse events in 1998, compared with 23,691 reported by consumers. In 2006, however, consumers reported 127,475, compared with 113,444 reported by physicians. The trend continued into the next year as well: 174,216 from consumers and 121,000 from physicians.

There are, however, problems with analyzing the reports. A major issue is that some reports don’t have the name of the person filing on the form. Another is that some reports have multiple people filing. Nevertheless, the reversals represent a possible increase in consumers’ awareness of drug safety issues, especially in light of high-profile incidents such as the recall of Merck’s Vioxx and safety concerns about GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia.

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