August 19, 1974

Drug-Induced Illness

Author Affiliations

Burlingame, Calif

JAMA. 1974;229(8):1043. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230460011003

To the Editor.—  In the prospective epidemiological study by Caranasos, Stewart, and Cluff (228:713, 1974) quantifying the problem of drug-induced illnesses, we were particularly interested in their finding that 2.9% of all admissions to their hospitals' medical service were due to drugs and that 6.2% of these patients died. This is an overall mortality for the medical services of 0.18% that can be directly attributed to adverse drug reactions (ADRs).We have been singled out as mythmakers in a speech by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Board Chairman, Richard M. Furlaud, at their last convention. In a paper1 that we presented describing a new retrospective drug utilization review system that would lessen the hazards of drug therapy, we attempted to estimate the number of deaths in the United States due to ADRs on the basis of data available to us at the time (Bull Johns Hopkins Hosp 119:299, 1966; Can Med