Patient deaths due to medication errors and adverse drug events in hospitals are estimated to be from 30,000 to 180,000 per year.

A medication error is a preventable event that may cause serious injury or death, while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to medical malpractice, health care products, procedures, and systems including: prescribing; order communication; product labeling, packaging and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use. For example abbreviations can be dangerous. Prescribers should avoid the use of abbreviations including those for drug names as they can frequently misunderstood. Additionally Drug names are frequently confused. Many drug names have been confused based on handwriting, pronunciation and other factors. As new products are approved other confusions can occur.

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