Half of drugs prescribed in France useless or dangerous, say two specialists

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/14/french-doctors-drugs-useless-dangerous

The doctors claim that the state wastes money on unnecessary medicine that they blame for up to 20,000 deaths annually

in Paris
guardian.co.uk, Friday 14 September 2012

Half of all medicines being prescribed by doctors in France are either useless or potentially dangerous for patients, according to two eminent medical specialists. They blame the powerful pharmaceutical companies for keeping these drugs on sale at huge expense to the health system and the taxpayer.

Professor Philippe Even, director of the prestigious Necker Institute, and Bernard Debré, a doctor and member of parliament, say removing what they describe as superfluous and hazardous drugs from the list of those paid for by the French health service would save up to €10bn (£8bn) a year. It would also prevent up to 20,000 deaths linked to the medication and reduce hospital admissions by up to 100,000, they claim.

In their 900-page book The Guide to the 4,000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines, Even and Debré examined the effectiveness, risks and cost of pharmaceutical drugs available in France. Among those that they alleged were “completely useless” were statins, widely taken to lower cholesterol. The blacklist of 58 drugs the doctors claimed are dangerous included anti-inflammatories and drugs prescribed for cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, osteoporosis, contraception, muscular cramps and nicotine addiction.

The Professional Federation of Medical Industrialists denounced the doctors’ views as full of “confusions and approximations”.

“This book is helping to alarm those who are sick needlessly and risks leading them to stop treatments,” it said in a statement.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/14/french-doctors-drugs-useless-dangerous

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