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Summary of Medication Errors

A medication error is defined as "any preventable event that will cause or cause inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is within the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer,” in step with the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention.

Medication errors can occur throughout the medication-use system. Such as, when prescribing a drug, upon entering information into a ADP system, when the drug is being prepared or dispensed, or when the drug is given to or taken by a patient.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives quite 100,000 U.S. reports every year related to a suspected medication error. FDA reviews the reports and classifies them to see the cause and kind of error. The reports come from drug manufacturers, and healthcare professionals and consumers through MedWatch, the Agency's safety information and adverse event reporting program.