Prescription Drugs: Safety

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd March 2018.

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Photo of Lord Rennard Lord Rennard Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the publication of Prevalence and economic burden of medication errors in the NHS in England, funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme, what estimate they have made of (1) the number of cases, and (2) the costs, of adverse drug events associated with (a) aspirin, (b) diuretics, (c) warfarin, and (d) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, medication errors in primary and secondary care.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The report did not make estimates on the numbers and costs of adverse drug events associated with specific drugs. The report found 36 studies which reported error rates in primary care, care homes and secondary care, and at the various stages of the medication pathway. The researchers used these studies to estimate error rates and burden. In their estimates however, the researchers used a study by Pirmohamed et al. Adverse drug reactions as cause of admission to hospital: prospective analysis of 18 820 patients which found that the drugs most commonly implicated in causing hospital admissions were low dose aspirin, diuretics, warfarin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A copy of the study is attached.

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