Preventing Prescription Errors: Consumer Reports Health Poll Finds Patients Want More Drug Information

Our Baltimore, Maryland pharmacy error injury lawyers have been following the results of a recent Consumer Reports Health Poll, that found that 65 percent of most Americans feel that drug makers have too much influence on doctors, and that doctors are too quick to prescribe drugs instead of exploring other non-drug options to manage health conditions. The poll also found that as patients, many Americans have a strong desire to acquire more drug information and safety details to prevent prescription errors in the future.

The Consumer Reports Health Poll found that:

• 45 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug per day on a regular basis, and on average, they take around four prescription drugs.
• 39 percent of American consumers cut costs on personal healthcare in ways that might be dangerous and could lead to personal injury, with 27 percent failing to comply with drug prescriptions. In an effort to save money, 38 percent of individuals under the age of 65 who don’t have prescription drug coverage, failed to even fill the prescription.
• 87 percent of Americans stated that understanding the safety of a prescription drug was very important, and 79 percent of individuals were concerned about dangerous drug interactions. 78 percent worried about drug side effects.

• 47 percent of Americans said they think that pharmaceutical companies sway doctors’ choice of drug administration for patients based on gifts, and 41 percent of people stated that they think doctors tend to prescribe newer drugs that are more expensive.

According to the Institute of Medicine, at least 1.5 million drug errors occur every year in this country—errors that are preventable. John Santa, M.D. M.P.H., and Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center director, claimed in the study that Americans who are taking multiple drugs considered drug safety and side effects to be a high priority. The poll found that safety information provided in the pharmacy, doctor’s office or hospitals is not always comprehensive enough to prevent medication mistakes or drug error, and needs to be addressed.

Santa claimed that when patients are considering new medications, they should ask their doctor about the drug extensively, how it should be taken, what the side effects could be, what activities should be avoided while taking the drugs, and whether there are any specific drug interactions. By discussing the risks of adverse drug effects with a doctor, the potential for drug error could be decreased.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a medication mistake in Maryland or the Washington, D.C. area, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC for a free consultation. Call us today at 1-800-654-1949.

Consumer Reports Health Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Say Drug Makers Have Too Much Sway Over Doctors; Information About Safety and Side Effects Sorely Needed, PR Newswire, August 24, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Institute of Medicine (IOM)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports
Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

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