How risky are prescription drugs?

Tom Stossel • FEBRUARY 14, 2014

Tom Stossel of Harvard Medical School discusses drug safety and the approach that we should adopt in relation to drug testing and approval. According to Stossel, the real issue is not safety per se but overall value. We should be asking what benefits a drug offers, he says, relative to its cost and risk. Stossel argues that although medicine has made enormous improvements in recent decades, we still do not know enough about science and the human body to introduce these drugs without taking on some risk. The path to continued innovation is not risk-free; we must do our evaluations taking the full context into consideration.

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