Cheers and jeers for drug safety

May 1, 1998

Pharmaceutical Representative

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices released its 1997 list of "cheers and jeers." Based in Warminster, PA, the non-profit organization serves as an education resource for medication-system errors. Its cheers and jeers, some of which are excerpted below, are issued as part of an effort to improve drug distribution, naming, packaging, labeling and delivery-system design.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices released its 1997 list of "cheers and jeers." Based in Warminster, PA, the non-profit organization serves as an education resource for medication-system errors. Its cheers and jeers, some of which are excerpted below, are issued as part of an effort to improve drug distribution, naming, packaging, labeling and delivery-system design.

CHEERS to pharmaceutical companies who responded to product labeling, packaging, nomenclature and design problems. Amgen, Baxa Corp., Bristol-Myers Squibb and Marsam, for example, made strides in correcting or improving-medication error prevention.

JEERS to companies who have not responded to serious medication safety concerns. Especially jeer-worthy is the practice of extending product-line names to new products that do not contain the same drugs. This confuses practitioners and consumers, according to the Institute of Safe Medical Practices.

CHEERS to the Food and Drug Administration for requiring products that contain 30 mg or more of iron per unit to be packaged as individual doses.

JEERS to the Food and Drug Administration and manufacturers for allowing the products' identities to be replaced by iron-related warnings on each package. This could slow emergency room personnel who need to identify what product was taken in accidental poisoning situations, and it requires pharmacies to repackage the product for use in institutions.

CHEERS to companies that obtain practitioner input on potential safety problems with labeling, packaging and nomenclature prior to product launch.

CHEERS to companies that provide clear and accurate resource materials and advertisements. Bristol-Myers Squibb, for example, voluntarily changed the "u" in its Blenoxane® advertisements to "units" to prevent possible errors, the Institute of Safe Medical Practices noted.

CHEERS to the many practitioners who reported adverse drug events to their institutions-the Food and Drug Administration and the Institute of Safe Medical Practices-in 1997. Better reporting behavior reduces the likelihood that such errors happen again. PR

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