Senate Debates New Legislation to Curb Costly Medication Errors
Congress is considering new legislationto promote the use of electronicmedication systems and other technologiesdesigned to reduce the risk ofdrug prescribing and dispensing errors.
The plan, advanced by Sen ArlenSpector (R, Pa), is part of broader legislationaimed at granting the Departmentof Health and Human Servicesfresh authority to negotiate with pharmaceuticalmanufacturers to lower thecost of the new Medicare prescriptiondrug benefit.
According to Spector, reducingmedication mix-ups and other medicalerrors would also produce massivecost savings for the nation?a total of$150 billion over the next 10 yearsalone.
His bill provides grants for demonstrationprograms to test best practicesfor reducing errors, testing the use ofappropriate technologies to reducemedical errors, such as electronic medicationsystems, and research in geographicallydiverse locations to determinethe causes of medical errors.
"The implementation of automatedprescription drug dispensers will preventadverse drug reactions, which inturn can cause further illness resultingin increased care needed to correct theerror," he told Congress.