Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

A survey of 150 pharmacists revealed that trouble in identifyingtablets leads to patient and caregiver errors in administeringthe right medication and is the number-1 cause of pharmacydispensing mistakes. Pharmacists believe, however, that tabletswith a distinct color, shape, and identifying imprint will reducedrug errors.

Of the pharmacists surveyed, 80% said that the fact thatmedications look alike is the top reason that patients and caregivershave difficulty in identifying medications. This scenario ismore likely to happen when patients transfer their medicationsto unlabeled containers. With an average rating of 8.3 on a 0-10 agreement scale, pharmacists agree that problems are multipliedwhen hard-to-distinguish tablets and capsules are takenfrom the original bottles and put into containers holding variousmedications. Pharmacy boards in 3 states—California,Wyoming, and Oregon—have taken action by instituting regulationsmandating that prescription bottle labels include thecolor, shape, and any identification code appearing on thetablets or capsules.