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‘Responsibility for drug-induced injury’ - a valuable reference book


M N G Dukes, B Swartz. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1988. (Pp 444, £100). ISBN 0-444-81005-6.

Injury from medicines occurs every day. Often it could have been prevented, sometimes it is inevitable. Once it has happened we need to find out what went wrong, what the medical, legal and social consequences of the injury are, and how to prevent such injury being needlessly inflicted again. Several parties may bear some responsibility – including the prescriber, the manufacturer, the pharmacist, the patient himself, and the regulatory authority – but few among them clearly understand their duties or where their responsibility begins and ends. Prescribers who take eight basic duties seriously (see below) will minimise problems for their patients and themselves. This book comprehensively explores and discusses the relevant issues – scientific, legal, ethical, social – and describes many important examples. It is easy to use. All prescribers and district health authorities should know that it exists and have access to it, perhaps in postgraduate medical centres.

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