Globally, medication-related harm accounts for 50% of all avoidable medical harm, 25% of which are severe or life-threatening. The World Health Organization (WHO) is underlining the global cost of pharmaceutical damage as we approach World Patient Safety Day on September 17, 2022. Elderly people, especially those taking several drugs, are one of the populations most at risk for medication damage. Intensive care, emergency medicine, and surgical care all have high rates of medication-related injury.
“Medicines are effective health-protection tools. However, medications that are improperly given, administered improperly, or of low quality can result in substantial injury, according to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO. Nobody should suffer damage while receiving medical attention.
One of the primary contributors to injuries and preventable harm in health-care systems around the world is unsafe drug practices and medication errors. According to estimates, drug errors cost the world’s economies $42 billion per year. Medication mistakes can be the result of systemic problems as well as human factors like weariness, unfavorable working circumstances, or staff shortages that have an impact on the processes of prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring. Serious injury, disability, and even death can be brought on by these mistakes.
World Patient Safety Day strives to raise public engagement and understanding of patient safety issues while also pressuring nations to support patient safety initiatives. The theme for this year is “Medication Without Harm,” which places a special emphasis on medication safety. In order to reduce preventable medication-related damage globally, the campaign will also see the consolidation of the ongoing WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm.
WHO urges rapid strategy improvements to lower medication-related harm in high-risk locations. Additionally, it is collaborating with partners to provide a collection of technical tools for medication safety, such as a policy brief and solutions for medication safety, like medication safety for drugs with similar-sounding names (LASA). LASA medications, whether by brand name or generic name, may have similarities in appearance or pronunciation. They could spell their names similarly or have similar packaging or sounds.
Along with human mistake, prescription system flaws have a significant role in medication-related damage. Evidence has indicated that, as a result of insufficient monitoring, more than half of all medication harm happens during the stages of prescription and patient use. Antibiotics pose the biggest risk category for medication-related injury, although sedatives, anti-inflammatories, and heart and blood pressure medications also carry a sizable risk.
In order to improve medication safety at the local, national, regional, and global levels, WHO is urging stakeholders to develop strategies and structures and to commit to adopting the Medication Without Harm Challenge.