Posted in: Science, Start-up

A new start-up strikes fear into the hearts of Big Pharma – Ya!


I don’t know about you but I have never understood how drug companies are able to sell drugs where a side effect can be death. I mean seriously people why are they allowed to do this, and not only that but advertise those drugs with their double speed side effects disclaimers on television. It is no wonder we are living in a world where prescription drugs are the drug du jour for kids and where the things the drugs are suppose to be fighting are fighting back; and winning.

Of course the big pharma companies only let you know what side effects a drug might have under duress and public pressure; because we all know the government and the FDA wouldn’t do squat about the problem without that pressure; and even when they let you know it is the barest details that are hidden away in the small print.

When it comes to the drugs that we are told that we need in order to stop our legs from shaking or our scalp to stop itching we have no easy way to know what they are, what side effects they have, or how prevalent the danger of those drugs are.

Well, a new start-up in California called AdverseEvents is looking to change that and in the process they are going to cause many a drug company executive some sleepless nights.

AdverseEffects has created a centralized database of how many side effects have been reported from what drugs, as well as what the patient outcomes have been, which according to co-founder Brian Overstreet is scaring the crap out of the pharmaceutical companies.

“The FDA has some of this [side effect] data, but it’s unstructured, not searchable, and not standardized,” explains Overstreet. AdverseEvent’s proprietary algorithm, which took 18 months to build, takes into account data from the FDA, direct patient reporting, and even information from social media sites (AdverseEvents analysts are alerted to side effect discussions on patient discussion boards, for example, and try to extract data).

AdverseEvents also has an internal alert system, so that the company can track potentially dangerous side effects and alert the FDA if necessary.

The result: a clean, easy-to-read database for both health-care professionals and patients.

via FastCompany

To give you an idea, here are the results for Lipitor, a drug that the doctor says I need to take. First AdverseEvents gives a break down of the drug, its known names, manufacturer, and common conditions:

Then comes the Top 10 adverse events list

Then just out of curiosity I decided to check some of the medications my wife has to take and all I can say is that between the two of us we are going to be having a serious discussion with our doctor very soon.

So if you or someone in your family, is on medication and you want to know exactly what the risks are then you need to bookmark AdverseEvents. Seriously. I have.

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6 Responses to “A new start-up strikes fear into the hearts of Big Pharma – Ya!”

  1. John E. Bredehoft

    While the site appears to be a valuable resource, its reports should not be misinterpreted.

    For example, I was reviewing a report for condition X for drug Y in which there were 83 reports, and 10 of those reports resulted in death (in this case suicide). This does not necessarily mean that you have a 10% chance of dying if you take drug Y, since (as we know) those who report such things tend to be those who have had a bad experience.

    In addition, one has to consider whether, even with the side effects, you're better off taking the drug than not taking it at all. While I'll admit that there are cases in which some drugs (e.g. Ritalin) are prescribed when they shouldn't be, on the other hand there are cases in which the drugs are necessary.

    And no, I'm not a doctor, but I do know patients who has to deal with various issues.

  2. Steven Hodson

    but at least with something like this you are better informed so that you can make better decisions that just relying on the drug companies, or even your doctor.

  3. Riah Callow

    While on the surface it sounds like a good idea, I agree with John, people who do not have side effects are usually quiet about it. Also no other information is given like lifestyle, health, diet, other medications etc. If the person whose blood cholesterol increased was eating steak and eggs for three meals a day, is it a side effect? I will bookmark it for reference to read along with other sources.

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