Researchers Find Deadly Effects of Prescription Drug Six Years Before FDA

Armen Hareyan's picture

Prescription Drug Effects

Northwestern University's Charles Bennett, M.D., is a super sleuth of potentially deadly prescription drug reactions. He leads a national SWAT team of doctors called RADAR (Research on Adverse Drug Events and Reports) based out of Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. They swoop in to investigate early signs of trouble years before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes notice.

A new study by Bennett, the A.C. Buehler Professor in Economics and Aging at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, and a hematologist and oncologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, found RADAR identified serious drug reactions six years earlier than the FDA and drug companies.


RADAR's proactive safety efforts and reports also were much more comprehensive than those from the FDA or drug companies, according to the study. RADAR's reports provided doctors with important medical insights as well as guidance for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The study will be published May 28 in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Since Bennett launched RADAR in 1998, his research has resulted in black box warnings on billion dollar drugs like Plavix that may have saved thousands of lives. He has also provided guidance to help physicians more safely administer drugs. More than 100,000 people die each year from reactions to medications. The FDA is under attack for its passive and inefficient methods of learning about these problems.

Why is RADAR so nimble" Bennett's network includes hematologists and oncologists around the country and the world. His phone rings weekly with calls from concerned doctors alerting him to possible new trouble. After such a call, Bennett probes for clues that led to a life-threatening reaction to a drug.