Medication errors lead to 8,000 annual deaths in Spain

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP) define medication errors as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use”.

It is estimated that every year 8,000 deaths are caused by medication errors in Spain, making it the fifth main cause of deaths in the country.

Within that context, to guarantee an adequate traceability for the whole process is indispensable to minimize those errors. According to the Ministry of Health, every day an average of 17 errors per 100 hospitalized patients occur (divided between 16% at the prescriptions stage, 27% at the transcription / validation, 48% at the dispensation and 9% at the administration stage).

Beside the high human cost that is made real by those errors, hospital pharmacies errors also present a very significant economic cost, of € 1.779 billion to be precise, that represents 2.9% of the total expenses of the National Health System, according to data provided by the Ministry of Health.

Within that scenario, to advocate for solutions with the pharma-healthcare environment that guarantees the elimination of those human errors becomes an inescapable need.

With that commitment the Foundation for the Innovation and Development of Health Safety is created, with the objective of raising awareness within the healthcare community and society in general about the risk represented by medication errors in the hospital environment and to support the development of solutions that positively impact patient safety. According to José Ignacio Echániz, MD and President of the Scientific Committee of FIDHS, “as we move ahead towards a mature digital health space, there is no reason why preventable medication errors keep representing a challenge to patient safety”.

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