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How does the FDA handle medication errors?

Medication mishaps take place regularly. Sometimes a patient is given the wrong medication in a hospital. Sometimes a person is given the wrong medication at the pharmacy. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a medication error takes place when the incorrect medication is given to a person, a mistake that could have been prevented and that injures the person.

In fact, in 2014 around 54,000 medication error incidents were reported to the FDA. This may be of great concern to people in Miami. Some medication errors include giving a person the incorrect medication or the wrong dosage of a medication. These medication errors can stem from drug name confusion. Drug name confusion can take place if two medications have similar pronunciations or spelling.

If a person is harmed due to a medication error caused by drug name confusion, they can report the incident to the FDA via a system called "MedWatch." Once such a report is received, the agency will examine it to determine what ultimately caused the medication error, for example, incorrect labeling. Once the cause of the medication error is discovered, the agency will make a recommendation on what changes should be made to avoid such mistakes in the future.

Of course, such recommendations come too little too late to those who have already been harmed due to a medication error. Those who are harmed by a medication error may have legal options. By researching the options available to them, victims of medication errors can determine how to best move forward when it comes to holding the negligent party accountable.

Source: fda.gov, "From our perspective: Working to prevent proprietary drug name confusion," accessed Jan. 15, 2018

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