A Hidden Epidemic

Millions of people throughout the world die from prescripticide each year.

When loved ones die, most family members are told by doctors that it was the illness. Rarely are they told that the death might have been caused by the side effect of a prescription drug or the interaction between different medications.

The pharmaceutical industry has known for decades that a possible side effect of their drugs is death, but this information has been kept hidden from doctors and the public. Many of the research articles published in reputable medical journals have been fraudulent, often written by ghostwriters hired by pharmaceutical companies with scientists, doctors and medical researchers being paid to be listed as authors without ever seeing the clinical trial data.

One example is the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Paxil, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In 2001, GSK claimed that Paxil was safe and effective for children and adolescents. In 2015, a group of researchers from four different countries examined all of the clinical trial data from the original Study 329, much of which was hidden from government regulators, and published Restoring Study 329 which concluded that Paxil was not effective or safe for young people. In fact, those in the Paxil research group in the original Study 329 were 11 times more likely to experience suicidal ideation than those in the placebo group.

Another example of a medication that causes prescripticide is the opioid painkiller fentanyl, which is considered to be up to 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than pure heroin. It is manufactured by several pharmaceutical companies under different brand names. If it is not used properly, it can immediately trigger an overdose and death, even in 1 dose. In addition to being prescribed as a pill, there are fentanyl patches. In 2014, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom issued a warning about the potential of life-threatening harm from accidental exposure to fentanyl patches, particularly in children.


“Prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.” – Dr. Peter C. Gotzsche, MD, Professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration

“In mental health, drug-induced problems are the leading cause of death.” – Dr. David Healy, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Cardiff University, United Kingdom and CEO of RxISK.org