July 15, 2011

Some Drugs Sold Without Safety Information

Do you know what to look for when you receive your prescriptions? In the State of Iowa, it is mandatory by law that the pharmacist tell you about your medications especially if they are new to you medications. Plus you have the right to ask about any medication and have them explain the printout if you have questions. Only once have I needed to do this.

For Consumer Reports to find discrepancies in information that lack crucial safety warnings means that some states need to revisit their prescription laws and rules that pharmacists must adhere to and up the penalties for safety violations committed by pharmacists.

The recommendation by Consumer Reports for a nationwide standard, similar to the Nutrition Facts labels on food packages or the Drug Facts labels on over-the-counter medication may be justified. Now, each state pharmacy board sets the rules, the report says. Especially since these findings are so poor when the requirements from the FDA that medication guides are always be included and even this is not happening.

I wish we know which states were included in the investigation, but that is for another day apparently or another report. The chain pharmacies all failed dramatically and you have to wonder when they say that one-third of preventable medication errors occur outside the hospital. I would have thought that this could have been larger, but when you consider that about 1.5 million preventable medication errors occur each year, this is still a staggering number.

According to Lisa Gill, prescription drug editor for Consumer Reports Health, the inconsistencies are difficult for every patient, especially when the font size used for printed material is so small it is often difficult to read. Another problem is all the medical jargon used tends to confuse patients.

The findings are concerning, says Allen J. Vaida, PharmD, executive vice-president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, an advocacy group who reviewed the findings for WebMD. He also stated the importance of talking to your pharmacist if the drug is new to you. Another trend by some pharmacies of promising a prescription will be ready in minutes is not a good trend.

Allen J. Vaida, emphasized asking the pharmacist the exact and best times to take a medication. If the directions say twice a day, does that mean at 9 and 3, or is it better to be taken at 9 and 9.

Read the report here. This may help you understand the necessity of getting clear instructions and checking your medications before leaving the pharmacy.

No comments: