Pharmaceutical International News - May 2012
GPs’ Drug Prescription Errors Exposed
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 02/05/2012 - 16:35:00
The General Medical Council has found that GP drug prescription errors are occurring much too frequently, highlighting mistakes that affect an average of around 18 per cent of patients taking prescription medications.
According to the GMC, the youngest and oldest patients are most likely to be given erroneous prescriptions, covering pills that are either at an incorrect dose or completely the wrong type.
Citing a study of close to 2,000 patient records, the GMC's report acknowledges that, in the majority of instances, only minor errors are being made. Furthermore, most of the time, the errors are identified and remedied prior to the drugs being released.
But, even so, there's scope for serious improvements and a need, therein, for some GPs to be retrained so these prescription errors are avoided, it adds, also proposing for all patients to get a 15 minute consultation window - five minutes more than is presently allowed. This, says the GMC, might make GPs feel less time-pressured.
Incomplete prescription data topped the list of errors found, with dose levels and dose frequency information close behind.
The 18 per cent error rate was an average, levelling out a 38 per cent error rate for patients aged 75+ and a higher than-an-average rate for under 14-year-olds, too. Severe errors were confined to four per cent of the cases examined: among these were records of patients being given drugs despite being allergic to them.
GP Drug Errors
In comments quoted by the BBC, Patients Association representative Katherine Murphy referred to the GP drug errors scenario as "deeply worrying" and described "patient safety" as "paramount."
"GPs are typically very busy, so we have to ensure they can give prescribing the priority it needs", the GMC's chairman, Professor Sir Peter Rubin, stated. "Using effective computer systems to ensure potential errors are flagged and patients are monitored correctly is a very important way to minimise errors."
In total, precisely 6,048 prescriptions were studied. These had been given to 1, 777 patients at 15 surgeries over the course of a year.
Image copyright Thomas Picard - courtesy sxc.hu
Recently Added News
Financial analysts have tipped the newly-emerging immunotherapeutic class of cancer drugs for success, forecasting $35bn in annual sales for them
According to a new study, one in ten US sophomore students are using prescription drugs to aid studying without their parents knowing.
Newly-developed prescription algorithm gives doctors the tools to weigh up the risks and benefits of prescribing aspirin to particular patients
According to a new study, up to three quarters of pharmacies give poor medical advice, including giving dangerous drug combinations.