Many of our most commonly used drugs, from painkillers to antidepressants, are dangerous and are killing us off in large numbers, says a leading researcher visiting Australia next week.
Peter Gotzsche, a co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the world's foremost body in assessing medical evidence, arrives in Australia on Monday for a whirlwind speaking tour warning Australians about their use of prescription medications.
He estimates that 100,000 people in the United States alone die each year from the side-effects of correctly used drugs. Similar figures are not available in Australia, although the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that 3000 people died after complications with medical and surgical care in 2012.
"It's remarkable that nobody raises an eyebrow when we kill so many of our own citizens with drugs," Professor Gotzsche, who heads the Nordic Cochrane Centre, told Fairfax Media ahead of his visit.