As NCCMERP has defined, medication errors are any preventable event that may lead to patient harm. Such events may be related to products, healthcare practices, procedures and systems and they can be occurred at any stage- packaging, dispensing, compounding, administrating, etc. Medication errors can happen majorly due to the prescription drugs but not always! They can also be a cause of consuming Over-the-Counter and generic products.
These medication errors include the cause of all kinds of drugs- prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs as well as generic products. They are not the only responsibility of any person or a professional group. It is a responsibility of everyone and needs to be taken care of by each one on their stage. There are a number of cases where they can occur:
• Omission of any drug
• Improper (increased or decreased) dosage of the medicines
• Improper drug administration
• Administration of drug via wrong route
• Poor knowledge of medicines
• Consumption of a specific drug by wrong patient
• Various drugs consumed together
Medicinal mistakes are of various types- unknown drugs, illegible prescriptions, dispensing errors, wrong administration, monitoring mistakes, prescription misunderstood by the pharmacy and more. These kinds of errors majorly take place in the hospitals and they can be both- preventable and non-preventable ones. Apart from this, medication errors are also a result of a person’s irresponsibility and carelessness. You will be surprised to know that such errors have counted patient deaths to be in between 40000 to 90000 (Source: A report by Institute of Medicines) in USA. Yes, this is true. Even general practitioners are not out of this game. They are also one of the major executors of medicine mistakes, in one or other way.
Deaths! Yes, they may even cause deaths, apart from some serious internal injuries and bleeding. Not only are this but also they are harmful for the patients’ confidence. Moreover, the overall healthcare system expense also goes high. This is because wrong medication can ruin the patient’s life while enabling him or her to stay under healthcare supervision for extended period of time. As a result, the patient will stay for longer and the expense will go high, without doubt!
Pharmaceutical companies play a big role in this entire setup. Obviously, because they are in the core of the entire pharmaceutical products and their consumption! Pharmaceutical companies are the ones who manufacture these products. It has been many times seen that product design, wrongly printed medicines and wrong labeling have been the reason behind such mistakes even though everything goes well.
Technology is becoming sounder day after day but still, there is a great upsurge in medication errors because they have nothing to do with the technology. The major contribution is of human body- everyone who is involved in the entire process; right from the one who designs and manufactures the product to the one who consumes it. So, let’s be more careful at our jobs and help people save their lives (including ours!)!