LONDRES  – Los efectos perjudiciales de los medicamentos suelen aparecen en los titulares noticiosos en todo el mundo. Después de todo, es fácil vender historias de horror sobre "fármacos que matan". Sin embargo, y aunque sus efectos nocivos sean una causa legítima de inquietud, no necesariamente representan un problema grave de sanidad pública si son mayores sus beneficios.

Puesto que ayudan más de lo que dañan, se recurre a fármacos con perfiles de seguridad altamente adversos para tratar enfermedades que pueden acabar por causar la muerte, como es el caso de varias formas de cáncer, la artritis inflamatoria y el VIH. En lugar de evaluar aisladamente la seguridad de un medicamento, es necesario considerar sus efectos adversos en relación con su eficacia. En otras palabras, se debe llevar a cabo una evaluación de riesgos frente a beneficios.

Pero ha resultado difícil lograr comunicar este mensaje al público. No es fácil captar la atención de los lectores o votantes con noticias sobre avances en la prevención de enfermedades o el éxito del tratamiento con determinados medicamentos. Más aún, la seguridad de los fármacos es un factor fundamental en el proceso de autorización de las medicinas para su acceso general.

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