Millions getting sick or dying from medication mistakes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Millions getting sick or dying from medication mistakes

WASHINGTON. - Every year, 4 million people end up in the emergency room or a doctor's office because they got the wrong medicine or the wrong dose and the Institute of Medicine says 1.5 million of these mistakes are preventable.

It's the Food and Drug Administration's job to make sure medicines are safe, but now the agency is concerned about whether patients are taking their medicines as directed.

"We have an overarching responsibility to assure that medicines are used safely," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

The FDA's new "Safe Use Initiative" will hold public meetings to ask doctors, pharmacists, patients, drug makers and others about solutions to problems such as

  • patients overdosing on acetaminophen when they mix over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • doctors prescribing the wrong medicine
  • pharmacists giving the wrong pill
  • parents who don't properly measure liquid medications for their kids.

"Even if we have that dosing device attached to the bottle, some parents will still reach for the teaspoon," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The FDA has made efforts to prevent errors like putting black box warnings on drugs, but officials admit even health care workers don't always read them.

"Simply putting out a warning label does not ensure that information will necessarily translate into the safe and effective use," said Hamburg.

The agency wants to make a list of drugs most likely to be misused, identify exactly how that happens, create specific solutions and measure whether those solutions are working.

The FDA's commissioner says this effort is an attempt to be proactive; to go beyond just regulating medicines and make sure people are using them safely.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane family discovers their new home destroyed

    Spokane family discovers their new home destroyed

    Saturday, November 18 2017 1:38 AM EST2017-11-18 06:38:51 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A family's dream home turned into a house of horrors after a man breaks in, destroying everything inside.  It was a day the Gunther family had been waiting for, to move into their new home. But when she checked on the place during her lunch break Thursday, Brittanie immediately knew something was wrong.   All of the work her family had done to get their new home ready was gone. "I don't even know what's really 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A family's dream home turned into a house of horrors after a man breaks in, destroying everything inside.  It was a day the Gunther family had been waiting for, to move into their new home. But when she checked on the place during her lunch break Thursday, Brittanie immediately knew something was wrong.   All of the work her family had done to get their new home ready was gone. "I don't even know what's really 

    >>
  • Navy issues updated statement on 'irresponsible and immature act' after obscene images drawn in skies over Okanogan Co.

    Navy issues updated statement on 'irresponsible and immature act' after obscene images drawn in skies over Okanogan Co.

    Friday, November 17 2017 4:50 PM EST2017-11-17 21:50:11 GMT

    OMAK, Wash. - I can picture the Austin Powers bit now.  The people of Omak looking up at the sky and seeing a giant (Fill in the blank innuendo here) just like in 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. If you're unfamiliar, I'll save you a Google search.  A simple, yet effectively funny joke.  Except the U.S. Navy doesn't see humor in the real-life version at all.  

    >>

    OMAK, Wash. - I can picture the Austin Powers bit now.  The people of Omak looking up at the sky and seeing a giant (Fill in the blank innuendo here) just like in 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. If you're unfamiliar, I'll save you a Google search.  A simple, yet effectively funny joke.  Except the U.S. Navy doesn't see humor in the real-life version at all.  

    >>
  • AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

    AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

    Saturday, November 18 2017 10:34 AM EST2017-11-18 15:34:00 GMT

    NEW YORK (AP) - Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64. AC/DC announced the death on their official Facebook page and website Saturday. The posts did not say when or where Young died. Young was diagnosed with dementia in 2014. A statement says he died peacefully with his family by his side.

    >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64. AC/DC announced the death on their official Facebook page and website Saturday. The posts did not say when or where Young died. Young was diagnosed with dementia in 2014. A statement says he died peacefully with his family by his side.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/