Valium Pills Doctors sued for prescribing Valium Last week I reported on the New England Journal of Medicine’s report of how doctors are open to litigation for using formerly free bedside tests. This week the Independent has described how doctors are currently being sued for writing prescriptions for benzodiazepines.

A professor quoted in the Independent makes the worrying claim:

“With around a million long-term users, the [legal] defence unions will at some point decide that these cases are indefensible and GPs will have to pay their own costs.” (Independent: 29.12.11)

The debate is far from clear cut, doctors have a responsibility to tell patients when the drugs they are prescribed are addictive and explain the consequences. Drugs however, are of course given to patients with detailed instructions and safety information. It seems bizarre that a patient could fail to realise that benzodiazepines are an addictive drug and it is regressive to blame doctors for a patient’s negative reaction if the patient was made aware of the risks.

This is a topic worth taking a close interest in even if you are neither doctor nor a current patient. Benzodiazepines like alprazolam are quite addictive and patients have a right to know the facts, however if doctors are made personally liable for every risk present in prescribing drugs then we will end up in an Orwellian situation where doctors will be reluctant to risk prescribing  drugs that actually have a powerful effect. After all, the NHS spend four million pounds a year on homoeopathy. In the dystopian reality we are creating,  doctors can be sued for prescribing real drugs, which of course carry a real risk; but homoeopaths can not be sued for prescribing magic beans with no active ingredient whatsoever, which carry no risk, except the obvious risk of doing nothing at all.


Follow Simon on TwitterFacebookGoogle+RSS, or join the mailing list.
  • Davey Me is Davey

    Stupid people, its their fault, and now people that will benefit from such drugs need to suffer. BullSHET!!

  • Neuroskeptic

    I once tried to get prescribed some benzodiazepines but the doctor was like “No can do, they’re addictive. Have some antidepressants instead”.

    I nearly broke into a rant about how the addictiveness of benzodiazepines was talked up by drug companies when they went off-patent, to increase sales of antidepressants when they were on patent, and how in 10 years the pendulum is blatantly going to have swung back and we’ll be talking about addictive overused antidepressants and under-rated benzodiazepines… but I wasn’t in the mood so I went home.

  • Lisa Ficheroux

    lve been on valium for more than twenty years , no thanks to my mother but l can tell you that l had a second opinion from a doctor who tried Serequal anti-psycotic/anti-depressant and l tell you , it messed my body, my mind and it was like wth each dose of serequal ur waiting on the next dose as it feels like your brain is swapping sides from dose to dose…. yes l am a victim of The Days Of THE MOTHERS HELPERS….now that l am addicted l couldnt imagine my lifewithout them , may that day one time come… Doctors need to study their patient and the drug alot more thouroughly . MyOriginal Doctor stopped the script contacted the doctor who prescribed the Serequal and told him to study wot he isprescibing . Not All Anti-psychotics are not going to be able to replace relaxants like valium… 37yr old female 

  • Sante201

     How difficult is it for a Doctor to state the name of the drug, how it works and the consequences –if its addictictive, than state it loud and clear at each doctor visit.  Otherwise, what is the doctor for if the doctor does not provide the basic information?

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...