FDA announces initiative to reduce medication errors

Reaching beyond its traditional role as industry regulator, the FDA yesterday unveiled an initiative aimed at reducing the “longstanding problem” of preventable medication errors, MedPage Today reports.

According to the FDA news release, and as outlined in the report, the FDA intends to collaborate with health care professionals and other stakeholders to identify drugs and drug classes that are linked to preventable harm. A list of specific problems, cross-sector interventions for reducing harm from these problems, and the metrics for success will be developed.

The report highlights several risk-reduction projects that may benefit from Safe Use collaborations, including evaluating consumer medication information, communicating about the risk of inadvertent overexposure to acetaminophen, implementing safeguards against surgery fires caused by alcohol-based surgical preps, and avoiding contamination of multiple use medication vials.

Click here for the FDA fact sheet.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, November 5, 2009; National Center for Health Statistics, http://cdc.gov/nchs, accessed November 6, 2009)