Essay on Medication Errors

Published: 2021/11/16
Number of words: 1158


Medication errors are mistakes which happen due to health worker’s carelessness or the patient’s carelessness. These errors can be caused by staff shortages in health centers, overcrowding, poor staff training, health worker fatigue and providing the wrong information to the patients. These errors caused by health workers and patients may result to several and harmful issues such as ordering the wrong medicine, prescribing the wrong dosage or taking the wrong dosage at the wrong time. According to research, medication errors are approximated to cause one death every day in the united states alone. In this article I will cover various factors that lead to medication errors.

Factors Leading to Medication Errors.

There are various factors which lead to medication errors. Some of them are brought about by the patients while others are brought about by health workers. I will focus mainly on an errors brought about by the manufacturers. One of the factors leading to medication errors is mistakes in labelling and packaging of pharmaceutical products.

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Errors Associated with Pharmaceutical Product Labelling and Packaging.

Similarities and confusions during the labelling and packaging of pharmaceutical products has played a big role in bringing about medication errors. These confusions mainly occur during the labelling of medication containers, cartons and during the packaging of medical products. A research carried by a certain medical organization in the 1990s shows that errors in labelling and packaging medical products has highly contributed to medication errors. Although there have been several efforts to prevent labelling and packaging related errors such as; barcode scanning and clinical decision support, this factor still plays a role in bringing about medication errors.

Product labelling and packaging errors are brought about by various sources. One of the sources of these errors is the Readability of the information. At times during the labelling of the products, the manufacturers use clear labels with no enough contras to read the text. The manufacturers may also use small text size and unclear fonts which may bring about errors during the interpretation of the information. Another source of product labelling and packaging errors is the product name. At times during packaging the manufacturers may use a brand name which is mostly known for a different product therefore bringing about confusions.

Dose, strength and amount of the medical product in the container is another source of labelling and packaging errors. The strength of injectables is mainly identified as per the ml concentration rather than the concentration of the whole product in the container. This therefore may bring about confusion during the taking of the dose. At other times there may be incorrect labelling of the amount of products in the containers, for example; A certain may be indicated 30 grams instead of 3.0 grams therefore bringing about confusions.

The last source of labelling and packaging errors is the improper phrasing of warning or cautionary statements. Sometimes during the labeling of cautious statements the manufactures omit some important information. For example, during labeling of insulin pens, the manufacture might forget to indicate that they are meant for single use only or when labeling drugs that require dilution, they may forget to indicate dilution before use.


Errors in labeling and packaging of pharmaceutical products is a very sensitive factor leading to medication errors and therefore it must be minimized and if possible completely eliminated. Getting rid of confusions during labeling and similar labelling is an industry wide obligation. Professionals in the health sector are supposed to implement risk minimization strategies which address factors contributing to errors in labeling and packaging of pharmaceutical products. Some of these strategies include purchasing products from different manufacturers to help differentiate various products and putting more cautious statements in products.

However, the most effective way of preventing labelling and packaging related errors is for the pharmaceutical companies to work with companies that overlook the labelling of the products before the release. Some of these companies include the standards organization(USP) and a regulatory organization (FDA) that enforces following the standards and also engages the patients and practitioners according to where needed in the review of labeling and packaging before the launching of the product. ISMP recommends that FDA should work with manufacturing companies’ leaders to ensure a strong, standard and beneficial process for labelling and packaging pharmaceutical products before they are launched.

According to ISMP, all medical companies, packaging companies and repackaging companies should use an independent source or an internal process that evaluates proposed labeling and packaging. This is to ensure safety measures involving the consumers and practicing health care clinicians as needed. This approach helps in reducing labelling and packaging confusion and similarities that may lead to serious errors and also save the pharmaceutical companies from expenses that may have occurred due to improper labelling and packaging of the products.

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Medication errors can be described as errors brought about by carelessness in handling of medical products either by pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, health workers and the patients. There are various factors which bring about medication errors. As I have discussed in this article one of the factors is errors in labelling and packaging of pharmaceutical products. These errors can be caused by various things such as the readability of the labels used in the containers and cartons used to pack the products, confusions when identifying the product name and misguided information during identifying the strength, dosage and amount of the product in the medical containers.

There are various recommendations to prevent this factor. The most appropriate one is for the pharmaceutical companies to work with organizations such as USP and FDA which help in previewing of the labelling and packaging of the pharmaceutical products before the official launch of the products. Medication errors must be minimized in all ways possible since they may lead to severe injuries and deaths.


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