The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists is launching an effort to standardize concentrations of IV and oral liquid medications in order to prevent patients in New York and around the country from being harmed by errors in the administration of these medications. The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that more than 1.5 million people in the United States are negatively impacted by sucherrors every year.
In the United States, nearly 14.5 million children and adults that have had a history of cancer were healthy and alive as on January 1st, 2014. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 500 deaths occur each year in the country as a result of chemotherapy errors. Roughly 3% of errors that are related to chemotherapy are reported. Also, 63% of oncology nurses reported that chemotherapy errors occurred in their place of work.
Medical errors are a serious problem for patients in New York and across the nation. In fact, medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., ranking third after heart disease and cancer. Some of the most common errors may be prevented if patients stay engaged with their medical treatment and ask questions.
In an effort to meet the goals outlined in the 2007 Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the Food and Drug Administration has released two guidance documents focused on reducing medication errors. According to the Institute of Medicine, around 7,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to medication-related issues, so reducing them is a priority.
New York patients might have prescription medications that have not been approved by the FDA to treat the condition they've been prescribed for. This is called off-label drug use, and though it is legal and somewhat common, patients could benefit from understanding how off-label drug use works and knowing which of their own medications may have been prescribed this way.