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Published on Jul 28, 2006 by Edgar Snyder

Medication Errors are a Big Problem

Medication Errors

Each year, 1.5 million people are given wrong medications that could potentially have serious consequences. Even more shocking, a hospital patient is exposed to at least one medication error per day.

Attempting to reduce the risk of injury caused by receiving the wrong medicine, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends these guidelines for patients:

  • Read, understand, and follow the instructions for each drug you take.
  • Keep a list of all medications and non-prescription medications you take, along with vitamins and herbal supplements, to discuss with your doctor.

Recommendations the IOM has given the drug industry include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should standardize the text and design of medication pamphlets so they are easy to read.
  • The National Library of Medicine should create a website that is an understandable source of drug information and fund a national hotline for those who do not have internet access.
  • Full disclosure to patients who were the victim of medication errors, and whether they were hurt by the error or not.
Drug litigation may involve co-counsel.

Source: “Study: Medication errors harm 1.5M a year.” By Elizabeth Weise. USA Today. July 21, 2006.
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