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September 29, 1951


JAMA. 1951;147(5):377-379. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670220017005

There have been 107 drug fatalities reported in the literature since December, 1946. These deaths were not from poisonings of the accidental or suicidal type but occurred in the use of regularly advised and prescribed drugs. Isolated case reports have emphasized this fact. These deaths resulted not only from drugs given orally and parenterally, but also from certain ones used in diagnostic procedures.

Dragstedt considered the course of events attending the advent of a new drug: It is synthesized by the chemists; it undergoes various screening tests as to its actions and effects by the pharmacologists; its toxicity is surveyed in laboratory animals; it is distributed for controlled clinical investigation; it shows some therapeutic merit; it is released for general therapeutic trial, and then, usually within three or four months, reports describing its unexpected and untoward actions begin to appear. Smith discussed all aspects of safeguards in the use of

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