Medication Errors Continue to Plague Health Industry

July 29, 2013 | Crandall & Pera Law
Medication Errors Continue to Plague Health Industry

Medication errors, from incorrect dosage to the wrong prescribed medicine, occur millions of times every year in pharmacies and hospitals, providing harmful and fatal risks for patients.

Studies estimate tens of millions of medication mistakes happen every year, resulting in more than 1.5 million people harmed, and more than 200,000 deaths. But the numbers are believed to be much higher because many go unreported.

Errors can occur for a variety of reasons, either in the dispensing process, transcribing the medication when a patient is released or simply giving a medication to the wrong patient. Recent studies show the use of barcode scanning and electronic prescriptions have helped reduce errors by as much as half in pharmacies, where dispensing errors are most common, but these systems make mistakes too.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices is working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to track and prevent medication errors by keeping a list of nearly 700 look alike or sound alike drugs that may be confused with one another. It also tracks high alert medications such as insulin, narcotics, opiates and blood thinners.

Patients can take steps to make sure they are not a victim of medication errors by asking their doctor or pharmacist questions to know exactly what medication you are getting and what it is for. Ask the pharmacist to read the name on the prescription and have them open the bag at the counter, read the labels and look at the medication to make sure it is right before you leave. Read the full details here:

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Medication errors kill and injure thousands of people each year. In addition, medication errors cause brain damage, nerve damage, as well as strokes and heart attacks.

If you or anyone in your family has suffered serious side effects or damages from a medication error you should seek legal investigation immediately. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.