New Federal Program Announced to Reduce the Likelihood of Harm from Medications

Doctors and other healthcare professionals in Virginia and around the country were recently notified of a new program launched by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration aimed at reducing the likelihood of preventable harm from medication use. The “Safe Use Initiative” was started because “too many people suffer unnecessary injuries from avoidable medication misuse, errors and other problems,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.

Millions of people are harmed every year from inappropriate pharmaceutical drug use. Many injuries occur as a result of incomplete access to information about a drug, a patient, or the patient’s condition. “Only through coordinated interventions across all sectors of the health care system can we substantially reduce preventable injuries from using medications,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “All participants in the health care community have a role to play in reducing the risks and preventing injuries from medication use.”

The FDA highlighted several risk-reduction projects that may benefit from Safe Use collaborations, including evaluating consumer medication information, communicating about the risk of inadvertent overexposure to acetaminophen, implementing safeguards against surgery fires caused by alcohol-based surgical preps, and avoiding contamination of multiple use medication vials.

Pierce & Thornton has handled numerous cases throughout Virginia, including cases in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Suffolk, and the Eastern Shore involving physician and pharmacist negligence in prescribing and/or distributing pharmaceutical drugs. We encourage you to contact our firm if you, a family member, or friend were harmed after being prescribed the wrong drug or taking an incorrect dose of medication.