More than 100 drugs available in EU deemed “more dangerous than useful”

Prescrire magazine has released its annual list of medications that are currently available in the EU, but are potentially hazardous to human health. Of the 105 drugs featured, 88 are prescribed in France. 

For the past 12 years, Prescrire magazine has put out a list of medications on sale and available on prescription in the EU that its team of researchers say should be avoided. This year, the list of drugs deemed “more dangerous than useful” has surpassed the 100-mark, and more than 80% are available in France.

The report is based on documented research and considers criteria such as effectiveness, comparisons to other available treatment options and adverse side effects.  

The researchers behind the report employ what is referred to as a “benefit-risk balance” to evaluate “the beneficial therapeutic effects in comparison with the risks linked to the safety of use of a medication”.   

Active, updated and newly approved medications are all considered, as well as drugs that are not yet proven to be more effective than a placebo, but still expose consumers to serious side effects.  


The list is updated annually, with drugs being added and removed as deemed necessary.

For example, teriflunomide, an immunosuppressant authorised for multiple sclerosis has returned to the list for 2024 after being taken off in 2023 in order to better assess its benefit-risk balance in children under the age of 10. The results were not favourable, so back on the list it went.  

Other medications that had appeared in last year’s list, such as fenfluramine, which is used in the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox–Gastaut syndrome in children, have been removed. Fenfluramine was deemed to have a positive benefit-risk balance for the latter syndrome, but the jury is still out regarding its helpfulness is treating young patients with Dravet, a rare, genetic epileptic encephalopathy that comes with seizures that are hard to treat.  

To find out more and to see Prescrire’s full list, click here.


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Photo source: Ksenia Yakovleva, Unsplash