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Errors Prompt Panel to Advise Prescription Clarity Mandate

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

A state panel on medication errors has issued a prescription for improving patient safety. The panel says faulty medical systems and processes need to be revamped. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

One of the panel's recommendations is to set a deadline for doctors and pharmacies to use electronic prescribing. The panel says handwritten prescriptions can be misinterpreted. Another suggestion is to print the purpose of a drug on all medication labels. Michael Negrete is CEO of the Pharmacy Foundation of California. He says seniors could definitely benefit from better labeling.

Negrete : Seniors can take easily between six and 12 medications. If they don't remember what each one is for, it can be really easy for them to confuse the two. And this one -- it's the blue one -- they think they need to take that twice a day. They get it confused with the other blue pill that they really need to only take once a day.

Negrete estimates medication errors injure some 150,000 Californians every year. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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