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Medication Errors: Congress Gets to the Root of the Problem

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Medications are an important means of delivering health care, testified Raymond Woosley, MD, chairman of the department of pharmacology at Georgetown University. But in order not to lose that benefit, "we must teach safe prescribing habits," he said. Those educational programs, though, should include the consumer. "Direct-to-consumer advertising has created an aura around medication that is inappropriate." And in order to balance the benefits of letting a consumer know about the availability of a new drug vs. creating a dangerous desire for that drug, drug makers should be required to also broadcast a public service announcement.

Eleanor Vogt, RPh, PhD, senior fellow at the National Patient Safety Foundation, and one of the last of the panelists to testify before the Senate committee, said, "What it really is all about is practicing good medicine."

 

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