Medication Errors Up More than 50 Percent

The number of people treated in hospitals in the United States for problems related to medication errors has surged more than 50 percent in recent years, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

  • In 2008, 1.9 million people became ill or injured from medication side effects or because they took or were given the wrong type or dose of medication.
  • This is up from 1.2 million injured in 2004.

See Tara Parker Pope in The New York Times. See the NCPA’s solution to adverse medical events at Health Affairs.

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Bruce says:

    This strengthen my resolve not to enter a hospital.

  2. Madeline says:

    Not good news.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    It makes sense that medication errors are up in recent years. Drug therapy is arguably the most efficient way to treat many conditions — often substituting for hospitalization. It is rare when an inpatient is not on some type of drug therapy. The number of drugs available has increased over time and the number of condition drugs can treat has risen. This alone would lead to errors since the universe of products doctors can use has risen. That said, drug errors are the most common form of patient injury and should be taken very seriously.

  4. Larry C. says:

    Hospitals are dangerous places in which to be.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    The only problem with the article template of US medicine again fails patients is that the report says that in “both the inpatient and treat-and-release ED settings, a majority of drug-related adverse outcome cases (92.6 percent and 74.4 percent, respectively) were classified as adverse effects of drugs…these are drugs administered properly in therapeutic and prophylactic dosages but cause adverse reactions, including allergic or hypersensitivity reactions.”

    So in the vast majority of the cases the drugs were used “properly” but caused side effects because, contrary to the FDA assumption, people really are different.

    It really doesn’t help to clump these cases together with cases of medication error or patient error and call them all “adverse outcomes.” Some are preventable and some are not given our limited knowledge of human biology.

  6. Virginia says:

    You would also see an increase in the rate due to the age of the population. We’ve got a large percentage of the population that is “aging into” drugs for cholesterol and heart disease. It’s a function of the increase in this demographic.

    On the other hand, that’s not a great excuse for causing such harms. Hopefully error management will see some innovations in the future.