The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

700 Deaths Due to Side Effects Per Year in Switzerland

In Switzerland, between 2012 and 2019, an average of 32,000 people were admitted to hospital each year due to side effects of medication. This is the first time this has been revealed by a joint study conducted by the universities of Lucerne and Zurich, the University Hospital Zurich and Swissmedic. Despite the legal requirement to report, only around 5% of these cases were reported to the Swissmedic medicines agency, according to the University of Lucerne (Unilu). These reports are very important, according to the study leader Patrick Beeler, as they are the main foundation for drug safety and most of the previously unknown risks can be discovered this way. Beeler advocates for the reporting requirement to be adequately addressed in the training of medical professionals. Internationally, this reporting rate is high, according to Beeler. Internationally, the reporting rate is estimated to be between 0.6 and 4.7%. Side effects of medication were responsible for 2.3% of all hospital admissions during the 8-year study period. Almost half of those admitted due to side effects (46.9%) were over 65 years old. The most common side effects observed were related to the digestive system (such as gastric inflammation), the urogenital system (such as acute renal failure) or mental/behavioral state (such as opioid dependence). 2.2% of those admitted due to side effects, or around 700 per year, died in hospital, according to the study. Of these deaths, around 12% were reported to Swissmedic.


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