FDA To Reduce the Misuse of Medications
The FDA wants to reduce the misuse of medications, saying that at least 50,000 hospitalizations a year could be prevented if physicians, pharmacists, patients and parents would be more careful. And the cost of these preventable injuries is estimated at about $4 billion annually by the Institute of Medicine.
FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg stated, “when I first started looking at this, I was stunned at the scope of the problem." She is right there is a huge problem in our country. The Institute of Medicine estimates that at least 1.5 million preventable injuries and deaths result each year from overdosing, mix-ups and unintended exposure to prescription drugs.
Children are often the victims. One study found that, between 2003 and 2006, more than 9,000 children were accidentally exposed to prescription drugs such as codeine and morphine.
This is a problem out of control according to the groundbreaking 2003 medical report Death by Medicine, by Drs. Gary Null, Carolyn Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio and Dorothy Smith. They claim that 783,900 people in the United States die every year from conventional medicine mistakes.
Commissioner Hamburg said the FDA intends to work with physicians, pharmacists, insurers, and drug companies as well as patients to increase their awareness and form a list of specific problems. She stated that some measures may call for voluntary action on the part of the drug industry and medical community.
"Even if we have a dosing device attached to the bottle, some parents will still reach for the household teaspoon, and we know those teaspoons come in all sizes," said Janet Woodcock, a physician who directs the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
"Simply putting out a warning label on a medication does not insure safe and effective use in the real world," Woodcock said. "We can't overlook this and say, 'These guys are not using this right and that's not our problem."
Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
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