Loophole puts users of generic drugs at risk

“If you take a generic drug, you have no rights. And most people don’t realize that.” Most of the prescriptions filled in the U.S.—80%— are for the generic version of brand-name drugs. In fact, your insurance probably requires you take the cheaper generic version when it is available. But there is a dangerous safety gap: generic… Learn More »

A short guide to avoiding hospital mistakes

About 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths each year. That makes preventable medical mistakes the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Some hospitals are finding innovative ways to reduce the risk of medical errors – see this OPB story about an Oregon hospital – and ultimately, it is… Learn More »

What Drugs Cause the Most Emergency Hospitalizations for Senior Adults?

An adverse drug event (“ADE”) requiring hospitalization typically occurs when a properly administered drug causes an adverse reaction (such as an allergic reaction), or a patient accidentally overdoses on a drug, or takes the wrong drug. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there were approximately 100,000 emergency hospitalizations for… Learn More »

Patients in California Being Treated for Macular Degeneration Blinded by Eye Injections of Avastin

The media is reporting that five patients being treated at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have been blinded following eye injections of contaminated Avastin that had been repackaged into smaller doses.  The news comes following reports of serious eye infections suffered by patients in Florida and… Learn More »

Strategies to Avoid Injuries and Deaths from Hospital-Acquired Infections

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections, from all types of microorganisms, including bacteria, combined, cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths each year. In an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, Dr. William Yarbrough of the Dallas VA Medical Center recommends five strategies to reduce… Learn More »

Electronic Prescriptions As Likely to Contain Errors as Handwritten Ones

According to a paper recently published in the Journal of American Medical Information Association, by Dr. Karen Nanji of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, more than 10% of electronic prescriptions contain an error, which means that prescriptions sent electronically are just as likely to contain mistakes as handwritten ones. The researchers analyzed 3,850 computer-generated prescriptions… Learn More »

Infant’s Death From Drug Overdose Highlights Risks of Increasing Reliance on Electronic Health Records

Genesis Burkett, a premature baby born 16 weeks early, recently died from a massive overdose of sodium chloride. The cause of the medical error was traced to a pharmacy technician using an electronic health records system who typed the wrong information into a field on the screen causing an automated machine at the infant's hospital… Learn More »

Cardiac Stent Manufacturers Provide Majority of Funding to Society of Cardiac Angiography and Interventions

In the latest in a series of articles about disquieting financial ties between the medical community and the drug & medical device industry, ProPublica exposes that The Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions received the majority of its funding from medical device makers who produce cardiac stents, like Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic. What makes this… Learn More »

Obama Administration Cuts Through Malpractice Noise, Announces Campaign To Improve Patient Safety

    President Obama has set a lofty goal of reducing by forty percent the number of preventable medical errors over the coming three years.  Studies show preventable errors are a growing problem and significantly driving up medical costs.  The LA Times reports that a recent study found that 1 in 3 hospital patients experienced an adverse… Learn More »

Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Lawsuit Against Abbott Labs For Selling Bacteria-Infected Drug That Allegedly Blinded Cataract Patients

In Gutierrez v. Advanced Medical Optics, the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by eight residents of Mexico blinded by eye infections allegedly caused by a bacteria-infected drug (Healon) administered during cataract surgery and manufactured by a company later acquired by Abbott Labs. The California District Court originally dismissed the plaintiff's complaint… Learn More »