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Deaths from prescription drugs: 500,000; deaths from supplements: 0
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Nearly 500,000 Americans died after taking a prescription drug in 2015, according to cases reported to the US National Poison Data System. By comparison, no deaths were recorded for vitamins, minerals or nutritional supplements.

In total, 443,900 deaths from prescription medication were reported to one of the US's poison centres, with analgesics—or pain-killers—being the deadliest poison, responsible for 11 per cent of all deaths reported. Sedatives and antidepressants were the fifth and sixth major killers respectively.

Of these, 275,000 were due to some error—such as a wrong dose—and 130,000 were caused by unintentional misuse, such as taking the drug more frequently than prescribed. Nearly 40,000 deaths were attributed to an adverse reaction to a drug that was properly prescribed and taken.

There were no deaths recorded from anyone taking a mineral supplement, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc or iron, or an amino acid or herbal, such as blue cohosh, Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, kava kava, valerian or St John's wort.

"If nutritional supplements are allegedly so dangerous, as the US's Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the news media and even some physicians still claim, then where are the bodies?" said Andrew Saul of


(Source: Clinical Toxicology, 2016; 54: 924-1109)

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