doctor with his hand on his forehead in disbelief

In our brand new book about medical mistakes we have a chapter titled “Top 10 Screwups Doctors Make When Prescribing.” Here is our Top 10 list:

  1. Failing to disclose drug side effects
  2. Creating obstacles to reporting symptoms
  3. Ignoring drug-induced symptoms
  4. Overriding medication alerts
  5. Being oblivious to drug prices
  6. Not knowing actual drug effectiveness
  7. Relying on surrogate markers
  8. Not checking for drug interactions
  9. Not staying up to date on new research
  10. Not reporting drug problems to the FDA

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Doctors prescribe an amazing number of drugs. At the time of this writing, roughly 4 billion prescriptions are dispensed each year. If the average number of pills in a bottle is 30, that is at least 120,000,000,000 pills or over 390 tablets and capsules for every man, woman and child in the United States each year. By the way, the bill for all those pills is more than $300 billion…

“Researchers using a probability model have concluded that pharmaceuticals are responsible for more than 17 million visits to emergency rooms and 8.7 million hospitalizations each year. They also predict that 300,000 people die each year from medicines that were supposed to help them. The prestigious Institute of Medicine reviewed a variety of studies and concluded: ‘there are at least 1.5 million preventable ADEs [adverse drug events] that occur in the United States each year. The true number may be much higher.'”

These statistics are documented by patient safety experts writing in prestigious journals. You will find all the references in Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them. We also provide you with specific ways to overcome common prescribing screwups, drug interactions and pharmacy mistakes.

We do NOT want you to become a statistic. Even though doctors are mad as hornets at the title of our new book, we think you need to protect yourself from medication side effects, generic drug screwups and deadly drug interactions.

One leading physician advocate for patient safety has this to say about our book:

Allan Hamilton, MD, FACS, is professor of surgery and radiation oncology, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center and author of The Scalpel and the Soul. He says:

“Joe and Teresa Graedon have performed an enormous public service by putting this book together. Unfortunately, an epidemic of medical adverse events–preventable lethal mistakes–are destroying the quality of American healthcare. In all my years as a physician and an advocate for a safer, error-free health care system, I have never seen a more practical and readable guide to help patients become more vigilant and proactive in preventing medical errors. If you or someone you love is facing a serious illness or major surgery, defend yourself: Buy this book, read it cover to cover. No one cares more about your life than you do. If you were faced with a lethal threat, you would naturally do everything in your power to defend yourself. Put this book in your holster. Arm yourself. Take it with you to the hospital. And save your own life.”

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  1. cpmt

    I used to have a doctor who met most of the list above. Also, in recent research in Europe, they found out that Cholesterol medications, DO NOT Prevent first heart attacks and many people who don’t need this medication are taking it… with the consequent side effects.

  2. Chuck

    I means looking at easily measurable things but not the main reason for taking the medicine. For example: statins do lower cholesterol. That’s easy to measure (a blood test). But does taking them mean living longer and not having a heart attack? Maybe not. Those studies take much longer and cost a lot.

  3. Carole H.

    This is a book that should be in everyone’s library. It is full of great information and it might save your life.

  4. Julie L.

    What does “relying on surrogate markers” mean?
    People’s Pharmacy response: It means using a measurement that isn’t quite what you are really interested in. For example, cholesterol is a marker because people with elevated cholesterol are more likely to have a heart attack. But just relying on lower cholesterol levels is imperfect, because most people with high cholesterol don’t have heart attacks, and many people who have heart attacks don’t have high cholesterol. In this case, the outcome that is important is the heart attack (or even death from heart attack) but that takes a big study and a long time to measure. It takes relatively little effort to measure cholesterol levels, so they are often used instead. That’s a “surrogate marker.”

  5. SM

    Wow! You clearly have identified all of the issues most of us seniors constantly complain about. We are bombarded with TV ads that say “talk to your doctor”-“ask your doctor”-“tell your doctor” but very few doctors want to listen to what you are saying. So, short of changing doctors, which is not so easy, what can be done to get the doctor’s attention?

  6. cpmt

    Well I have a doctor that almost put me in the cemetery- I am allergic to prednisone, got very sick I told her she ignored me and told me to continue taking it. etc etc…
    Some Drs. don’t care or listen to the person. And they make big mistakes. I learned to be alert and if I think something is not right I tell him/her. One time I did stop taking a medicine the Dr. prescribed. I knew it was wrong (another Dr. had prescribed a different medicine) this Dr. was giving me a totally different medicine (nothing to do with my illness) later he realize what he did and corrected the mistake. Thank God there are not many Dr.’s like that.

  7. Marie

    I want to THANK YOU for this interesting and useful book.
    It was, no problem, what-so-ever to get hold of it here in Sweden.
    We have different health care systems but most problems that you write about are familiar.
    I think it`s an excellent christmas present.

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