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FDA seeks to avoid patient injury from medication errors

People in Illinois and across the U.S. who go for treatment to a medical professional expect to receive the right care to improve on their illness or condition. Part of that is often receiving medication. Unfortunately, one of the most common mistakes that affects people negatively and causes injuries and fatalities is if there is a medication mistake. To combat this, regulatory agencies are constantly trying to find ways to improve safety. Such is the case with the Food and Drug Administration, which gives guidance to manufacturers, pharmacists and practitioners to reduce this danger.

Two new guidance documents from the FDA are intended to help reduce the number of Americans who die every year due to these errors. An estimated 7,000 people die in the U.S. due to medication mistakes. The new documents are part of the agency following through on the 2007 Prescription Drug User Fee Act that meant to lower the number of errors that arise. Many of these mistakes stem from medications that look similar, are named similarly, have abbreviations that can be confusing and other factors that cause errors.

Improvements in safety will involve detailing the pronunciation of the name of the drug; deviations of the name; intended meanings of the modifiers of the name; categories of pharmacology and therapy; labeling instructions and how it should be dispensed and delivered. Pharmacists are also encouraged to take certain steps to avoid mistakes by writing down the name of the medication and reading it back to the patient. The second document is to decide on the dosage requirements earlier in the design process to avoid subsequent errors that might happen because of constraints in usage from the manufacturer.

Although medical professionals and pharmacists try to avoid making errors that can cause damage to their patients and the FDA is taking steps to implement greater strategies for safety, the mistakes are still occurring with people being harmed as a result. Those who have been affected by a mistake with medication, a missed diagnosis, or any other damage to a patient need to understand their rights with help from a medical malpractice attorney.

Source: Pharmacy Times, “FDA Issues Guidance to Reduce Medication Errors,” Alison Gilchrist, April 25, 2016

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