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Welcome to Vegas Lawyer. This site is for people who were hurt in Nevada. Contact us for a free consultation. You may want to read the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law introduction on our home page. Also, you can get an overview of other claims like Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents, Slip & Fall, and Products Liability before you explore the Article below.

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Preventing Adverse Drug Events

Written Testimony Submitted by Marty R. McKay Rph

The Pharmacist should play a key role in preventing adverse drug events.

Probably the single most important way to help prevent adverse drug events is to create medication delivery systems and procedures that allow the pharmacist to do more than count and fill prescriptions. No other health care professional has the extensive training and knowledge about prescription drugs that a pharmacist has. In fact, a 1999 study reported that including the pharmacist on medical rounds with a physician reduced the errors related to medication ordering by 66% (IOM Fact Sheet, Medication Errors: The Scope of the Problem). However, the pharmacist is too often used just to fill a prescription and to provide limited counseling to a nurse, physician or a patient. A pharmacist should serve as the gatekeeper of a patent's entire drug regimen and, through technology and appropriate reimbursement mechanisms, be allowed to more actively participate in prescribing and monitoring a patent's drug therapy. The pharmacist, already the front-line of defense for preventing medication errors, should be allowed to expand his role through the use of more sophisticated information technologies and automation. So even though the pharmacist cannot make rounds with the physician, he can still help reduce medication errors just as if he did. Prevent roadblocks to implementing new error-preventing technology.

As this Congress considers adopting a prescription drug benefit plan, regardless of the size or scope of such a plan, I strongly encourage you to enact legislation which would (1) help prevent regulatory roadblocks to implementing today's life-saving technology and (2) establish new and innovative reimbursement mechanisms that will promote investment in information technology and automated delivery systems. This will save patient lives and save this country billions of dollars in unnecessary costs.

All states regulate the dispensing of prescription drugs by pharmacists. Some states rules and regulations have not been updated to allow a pharmacist to fully utilize the automation technology that is currently available. In Louisiana, the State Board of Pharmacy has recently completely revised its regulations to allow pharmacist-controlled medication delivery systems to be used outside the four walls of a traditional pharmacy provided adequate safeguards are in place. Some states have not revised their rules to allow the use of such technology. Federal regulations, like HIPAA, should not prevent or discourage states from enacting modern pharmacy automation regulations that enable the safe use of the new automation technology so a pharmacist can help prevent medication errors. An example of such progressive steps is the Drug Enforcement Agency, which just released for comment its recommendation to allow controlled drugs to be stored and delivered from automated dispensing devices located in long-term care facilities, but controlled by the pharmacist.

Conclusion

The problem of medication errors in our health system today is huge. Patients are dying needlessly. The costs created by preventable patient injury and deaths, both direct unnecessary medical costs and indirect costs suffered by the nation as a whole are mind-boggling. A major cause of the preventable errors is the use of outdated systems for prescribing, charting and monitoring a patent's drug therapy. The pharmacists of this country are in the best position to help reduce medication errors and serve as the nation's gatekeeper of prescription drug utilization and monitoring. To fulfill this role, the pharmacist must utilize modern automation and information technology in new and innovative ways. To accomplish this, regulations must not limit a pharmacist to practicing his craft inside the four walls of his pharmacy, but enable him to use technology to apply his skills to prevent medication errors. New and innovative payment incentives must be adopted to encourage the development, implementation and use of this new technology.



This information came from a
US Senate online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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