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FDA launch safe use of medicines initiative

The US Food and Drug Administration has launched the Safe Use Initiative, aiming to reduce preventable harm from the use of medication

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched the Safe Use Initiative, a campaign aiming to reduce preventable harm from the use of medication.

According to the FDA, millions of injuries occur each year as a result of incomplete access to information about a drug, patient or condition. A prescribed medicine can cause harm or even death in a single dose if it is taken by someone other than the intended recipient.

"Too many people suffer unnecessary injuries from avoidable medication misuse, errors and other problems. The FDA is launching the Safe Use Initiative to develop targeted solutions for reducing these injuries," said FDA Commissioner Dr Margaret A Hamburg.

A report from the US official body, FDA's Safe Use Initiative – Collaborating to Reduce Preventable Harm from Medicines, contains more detailed information about the new programme.

The FDA will collaborate with healthcare professionals and key stakeholders to identify drugs and classes of drugs linked to preventable harm.

"Only through coordinated interventions across all sectors of the healthcare system can we substantially reduce preventable injuries from using medications," said Dr Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "All participants in the healthcare community have a role to play in reducing the risks and preventing injuries from medication use."

New guidance covering the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of over-the-counter liquid medicines packaged with individual dosage devices such as measuring spoons, syringes and calibrated cups, has also been published.

4th November 2009

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