Stiftung Warentest: Many drugs have no effect

Stiftung Warentest: Many drugs are not suitable

Most Germans take medication for cold symptoms without consulting their doctor first. Stiftung Warentest has examined around 2,000 medications for their benefits and effectiveness, and does not believe that many have any real benefits, and even considers some to be problematic.

The team of experts regularly checks the top-selling drugs. About a third of them have now rated Stiftung Warentest "bad". These include many well-known remedies for colds, runny nose, sore throat, constipation, diarrhea or insect bites.

Combination medicinal products often do not make sense Especially among the combined medicinal products are many that are classified as “not very suitable”. Only a few of the ingredients are well coordinated and can be rated as useful. For most, no additional benefit is found. These include well-known cold remedies such as Grippostad C, Wick DayMed and Wick MediNait. to find.

Therapeutic efficacy rarely Other medications cannot be considered therapeutic or are classified as minor due to the side effects. Agents with aloe vera, for example, which are used for constipation, often have a drastic laxative effect and are extremely irritating to the intestine. Gentler agents such as psyllium, lactulose or macrogol are recommended.

Combination products perform particularly poorly
Medicines that use a combination of different active ingredients perform particularly poorly in comparison. The cold medication in particular, in which painkillers are mixed with stimulating substances, does not get good marks from the testers. In other cases, the high alcohol content of cold remedies for the night is classified as unsuitable or the composition of the active ingredients in tablets against throat infections is criticized. There are over 2000 over-the-counter medications. in the Stiftung Warentest database, which you can buy at any time in the pharmacy.

More than 600 million over-the-counter medications are issued every year at the pharmacy. According to estimates by pharmacists, around a third are sold in the context of self-medication. The mail order business adds another small portion. According to studies, sales amount to over six billion euros.

Patients do not recognize the risks. The sale of over-the-counter medicines suggests harmlessness to many patients and at the same time they are taking medications prescribed by the doctor. This interaction in particular is classified by the experts as dangerous and involves additional risks.

Medicines have only minor additional benefits With the pharmaceutical reform introduced in 2011, manufacturers now have to provide evidence of an additional benefit for agents with new active substances when they are launched on the market. A lower benefit was found for three preparations. The new active ingredient brought more disadvantages than advantages over previous drugs.

Jürgen Windeler, head of the independent Institute for Economic Efficiency in Health Care (IQWIG), said "For 22 drugs, we were able to determine that they are really better than conventional agents". Health insurance companies and manufacturers negotiate a price for drugs with added benefits - only the drugs that bring more should also cost more. Here you will find a list of Stiftung Warentest with 33 preparations that are classified as unsuitable. (fr)

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