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Reducing medication errors in Ohio

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine released a report saying that as many as 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors. Others have put the figure at far higher. The report estimated that as many as 7,000 of those deaths were linked to medication errors. In 2012, the FDA issued draft guidance that would provide best practices related to drug container closure systems to prevent some of those errors from occurring.

In final guidance issued in 2016, the FDA said that several factors need to be considered when containing and labeling medication. Patients should be able to easily locate on the bottle strength of the medication and its active ingredient. When designing a container, consideration should be given to the physical properties of the product as well as how it should be stored. This is important because medications may be stored differently in a hospital compared to a patient's home or an outpatient center.

To ensure a medication is as safe as possible, sponsors are urged to start risk assessments as soon as possible. This may include separate assessments during preliminary design stages as well as during final stages. Doing so may help identify issues that can be mitigated before a medication error leads to patient injury or death.

Medication errors can occur in a variety of settings and ways. In addition to improper or deceiving packaging, a prescription could be erroneously filled by a pharmacist or a physician could prescribe a drug to which a patient is allergic. If the error causes a person harm, a medical malpractice attorney will determine whether or not it was compensable by reviewing the client's medical records and obtaining the opinions of experts.

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