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Thursday, November 5, 2009

FDA commissioner announces initiative to reduce medication errors

Given all the amazing uses of technology that exist in this world, its amazing how often patients receive and take the wrong medication and dosages. The FDA is trying to do something about it.

From the ACC News Letter:

The Washington Post (11/5, Layton) reports that the Food and Drug Administration has announced a new "Safe Use" program in an effort to reduce the misuse of medications, which it claims could prevent "at least 50,000 hospitalizations a year." FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said she was "stunned at the scope of the problem," and that her agency "intends to work with physicians, pharmacists, insurers, drug companies, patients and parents to develop a list of specific problems, a strategy for addressing them, and ways to measure success." Hamburg indicated that while some of the new measures would require voluntary action on the part of the drug industry and medical community, others "may require new FDA regulations."


On their website, CNN (11/5, Young) reports, that commissioner Hamburg also touted a new "drug dosage guidance document" and claimed that better measuring devices "will help patients, parents and other caregivers use the right amount of these medications -- the safest and most effective dose -- especially for children." She also said the agency was currently "working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on estimates for the number of people who die from avoidable medication errors."


The Los Angeles Times (11/5, Zajac) reports that the agency also said they will begin to "scrutinize the information provided to patients, such as package inserts, labels and instructions that pharmacists give when dispensing prescriptions." The AP (11/5, Perrone) also covers the story.

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