For every $1 spent on prescription, $1 spent to correct errors

For every dollar spent on prescription medications in the US, another dollar is spent to correct the adverse events associated with these medications

In 2000, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), published “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System.” The book stated that “... It has been estimated that for every dollar spent on ambulatory medications, another dollar is spent to treat new health problems caused by the medication” (p41) and that “For every dollar spent on drugs in nursing facilities, $1.33 is consumed in the treatment of drug-related morbidity and mortality, amounting to $7.6 billion for the nation ...” (p 42). The book also states that:

Medication-related errors occur frequently in hospitals and although not all result in actual harm, those that do, are costly. One recent study conducted at two prestigious teaching hospitals, found that about two out of every 100 admissions experienced a preventable adverse drug event, resulting in average increased hospital costs of $4,700 per admission or about $2.8 million annually for a 700-bed teaching hospital.

The authors blame in part the health care system which fragments care along the lines of specialties. When patients see multiple doctors in different locations, they do not have complete access to information. This inhibits safety and makes it more likely for errors to occur. They call for a more organized system with clear accountability.

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