Painkillers, Antibiotics an Co

How medication can harm us
A Film by Stefan Wolner & Elisabeth Tschachler
TV Dokumentation | Österreich | 2019
45 Minuten | HD

More than 14,000 drugs are currently on the market, about 1,000 individual doses – tablets, capsules, drops – each Austrian takes on average a year. That often harms more than it helps. Painkillers hit the stomach, some antibiotics attack tendons and nerves, birth control pills, which were originally advertised as being particularly easy, are associated with strokes and pulmonary embolisms.

“Anything that works has side effects,” say pharmacists, who estimate the number of annual deaths due to side effects of medication to be as high as 50,000 in German-speaking countries alone.

Could that be prevented? Yes, experts say: if in licensing-studies more attention would be paid to side effects; if physicians were better informed and unwanted effects were also reported by the manufacturers to the authorities without delay. Big Data is designed to help identify patient populations that are at particular risk. Genetic tests detect drug intolerance in individuals. But both approaches are controversial.

The film uses patient fates to show where care should be taken and what needs to be done to prevent suffering.

Year 2019
Director Stefan Wolner
Writers Elisabeth Tschachler, Stefan Wolner
Partners Langbein + Partner, ORFIII, Autentic, RTR