FDA to battle 'preventable' drug injuries

In a move that highlights the FDA's stated focus on public health, the agency is mounting a campaign to fight "preventable" injuries from medication mistakes and misuse. It's an effort that will require work on the part of drugmakers, CDER chief Janet Woodcock said in a release. "Only through coordinated interventions across all sectors of the healthcare system can we substantially reduce preventable injuries from using medications," Woodcock said.

FDA wants to first identify the products most often linked to avoidable problems. Then it will work with healthcare providers, patient groups, and drugmakers to develop some prevention strategies. Manufacturers might have to make changes to products or product information. Or they might be asked to educate consumers about particular drugs and the risk of their misuse.

One related change made yesterday: FDA instituted guidelines for dose-calibrated dispensers for OTC drugs, saying many accidental overdoses happen because users are confused about how much to take.

Ken Johnson of PhRMA said his trade group is all for the initiative. It "fit[s] in with PhRMA's goals of ensuring that patients receive the right medicine and the right dose at the right time," he told Reuters. We'll see how it goes.

- see the FDA release
- get more from Reuters