Many new drugs or new formulations will have been given to less than two thousand patients at the time a licence is issued. Clinical studies carried out before marketing will have demonstrated the drug’s main effects and its apparent safety. Adverse effects may only be recognised much later when a large number of patients have been treated. This was the case with benoxaprofen, Osmosin, zimeldine and zomepirac. The speedy recognition of such problems requires the help of all prescribers, but particularly of GPs who are especially likely to prescribe newly promoted drugs. Government has promised funds to help improve the collection and dissemination of information about drug safety.1
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