Editor’s note: This article, translated from wenxuecity.com presents some frankly terrifying statistics about the nature and volume of deaths related to misuse of medicine that have occurred in China in recent years. The current relationship between doctors and patients in China is a fraught one, with doctors and nurses suffering verbal and sometimes physical abuse at the hands of patients’ families. This article, however, places the blame largely on faulty or unsafe medication and ignorance surrounding their use rather than the actions of individual medical practitioners.
The latest reports from Mainland China show that about 400,000 people a year are accidentally killed by medical malpractice related accidents-four times more than the number of deaths caused by car accidents. Investigations found that the leading cause of death is the use of unsafe or tainted medications. This is especially true for young children and the elderly. Surveys have shown that up to three hundred thousand children in China have gone deaf because of the misuse of antibiotics.
A media report from China quoted statistics from the Chinese Red Cross. The report noted that the number of ‘irregular’ annual deaths is eight million. Of these, the number of deaths from ‘medical accidents’ numbers 400,000 which is roughly 4 times the number of deaths from car accidents. Among these, the main cause of death was non-compliance with a doctor’s orders; people blindly taking medicine in an unsafe way.
The report also quoted an earlier survey done by the China Medical Association. The survey found that 87 percent of respondents had experience with “self-medication.” Among those who had in the past attempted to self-medicate, 69 percent reported that they did not fully understand different drugs and 37 percent reported that they had made mistakes when self-medicating.
On the other hand, last year, China held an official drug safety knowledge contest in order to spread awareness. The contest had 1.7 million participants. Most of the contest focused on questions about self-medication, drug stores and the purchasing of medicines. The contest also included information on the overuse of antibiotics in pregnant women, drinking alcohol with medication and drug shelf life.
The State Drug Administration has also launched the National Food Safety Month which includes a focus on safe medication. Starting this month, the bureau will focus on safe medication for the elderly and for children. Chinese Pharmaceutical Association expert Zhou Xiaoqing, said that the elderly are especially at risk when using unsafe medication. The elderly have bad reactions to medication at a rate that is almost three times higher than that of youth because of their metabolism and drug absorption rates.
Last year’s National Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring report shows that young children have had increasingly serious reactions to unsafe drugs. A survey found that in children from aged two to seven, more than three hundred thousand suffered deafness from the misuse of antibiotics. This accounts for nearly forty percent of the total number of deaf children in China.
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Keywords: Deaths from medicine in China Medicine in China
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this article is absolutely shocking!!!!! my friend have warned me about some Chinese hospitals, they are afraid to have any injection or medication. something really needs to be done about the standards of care, diagnosis and prescription. and it is just disgusting this happens when hospitals are money making businesses in all but name. if people are paying they should get a high quality of service
Sep 11, 2014 02:20 Report Abuse
The president of the largest hospital in my city was recently indicted for stealing millions of dollars of public money. According to some articles that are not accessible without a VPN, he was also involved in an organ harvesting scheme. That really says enough about the state of health care here. Though obviously violence against doctors is never cool. The outcome of the surgery was not successful? That doesn't necessarily mean negligence or incompetence on the part of the doctor.
Sep 10, 2014 14:49 Report Abuse
well a number of chinese do not use the medicine which is prescribed to them.when the doctor prescribed it u have to buy it down stairs inside the shop then come back again to the doctor. some chinese take the prescriptions and buy it outside.sometimes they change the medicine without the doctor advice. china has 1.7 billion people out there so 400,000 per year death is lesser then to the other countries comparatively. well buying medicine outside the hospital is much cheaper then inside. try it some day
Sep 09, 2014 21:20 Report Abuse