More than 8,000 people have died in the past decade as a result of taking medicines intended to help them, figures have revealed. Almost 42,000 other patients have been hospitalised after suffering harmful side-effects or serious allergic reactions to prescription drugs and other medication.
The number of deaths from adverse drug reactions - negative responses to medicines resulting from medical error or side-effects - has more than doubled since 1997, rising by 131 per cent.
In the same period, the number of prolonged hospitalisations caused by medicines was up 82 per cent.
It costs the NHS as much as £466million a year to treat those who respond badly to medication.
Figures out yesterday show the annual number of adverse reactions since 1997 has risen by 30 per cent from 16,627 to 21,600.
There were 1,031 deaths last year thought to be caused by adverse drug reactions - the highest figure yet - up from 447 in 1997. Over the decade 8,077 deaths were reported.
Meanwhile, the number of reports of prolonged hospitalisation - around eight days on average - rose from 2,484 to 4,545, according to figures revealed in answer to parliamentary questions. The total for the past ten years was 41,935.
This period also saw the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency and the Commission for Human Medicines improve their systems for registering and analysing incidents
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "There may be some improvements in reporting, but these figures show a worrying trend towards more serious drug reactions leading to hospitalisation and a sharp increase in the number of deaths."
Source - Daily Mail