U.S. health officials are determined to fight avoidable injuries from medication errors or misuse, to prevent harms hundreds of thousands of people.
The Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday that a more coordinated effort was needed across the nation's healthcare system, and with patients and manufacturers, to reduce unnecessary complications from misuse, dosing errors, drug interactions or abuse.
The agency intends to cooperate with doctors, nurses, patient groups and others to identify medicines linked to preventable complications and develop strategies to avoid them.
Manufacturers may be required to take steps to help minimize risks from specific medicines. Some problems could be addressed through voluntary efforts such as education campaigns.
The Institute of Medicine estimates 400,000 hospital patients experience a preventable drug side effect each year. The number rises to 1.5 million when nursing homes and other outpatient settings are included.
Officials also want to develop safeguards against surgical room fires caused by alcohol-based prepping solutions applied to the skin to reduce infection risk, the report said. An estimated 100 to 600 fires occur each year in surgical settings and "would be entirely preventable if procedures were in place and followed," the agency said.
Also Wednesday, the FDA released guidelines for manufacturers who make cups, droppers, syringes and spoons to measure over-the-counter medicines. Many accidental overdoses stem from confusion about how much of a drug to take, and better measuring devices may help with proper dosing, especially for children, the FDA said.
Reuters has contributed to the report.