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Media lift lid on secret reports on drug side-effects

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Adverse reactions to medication is the fifth most common cause of death in hospitals according to the European Commission, but EU agencies and national governments have until now kept secret pharmaceutical companies' reports on side-effects.

The PSURs for example detail how doctors in various countries suspect that teenagers grow suicidal when taking a certain medication against pimples, or that a diet product could lead to a stroke and what industry has to say about the medical fears.

A team of Dutch, Danish and Belgian journalists has now used freedom of information legislation in the Netherlands and Denmark to get partial access to the documents, where patient gender, age and country of origin are blacked out to protect privacy and business interests. A legal decision is pending in Belgium.


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