PRESCRIPTION ERRORS: Kaiser CEO Urges Tougher Scrutiny
Deaths from prescription drug errors represent "the number one public health risk in the United States, ahead of tobacco, alcohol, drugs or guns," Kaiser Permanente CEO David Lawrence said Tuesday in a speech to biotech industry executives at the University of California at Berkeley's Haas Business School, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. He added that the current fatality rate is equal to "two 747 jumbo jets crashing every three days and killing all their passengers." He urged drugmakers "to do more to educate physicians in the proper use of drugs and to warn them of the possible consequences when several drugs are taken together." He also noted that the health care industry may benefit from borrowing airlines' safety strategies, which require employees to report narrowly-avoided accidents without risking their job security. "It's from the near misses that one learns the most," Lawrence said, noting that most medication errors are attributable to system failures rather than neglect or incompetence. He plans a similar speech to the National Press Club in Washington, DC (Abate, 6/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.