Patient Safety a Priority Beyond Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient Safety a Priority Beyond Patient Safety Awareness Week

03.07.13 | By Kaelan Hollon

Patients should be able rely on and trust their prescriptions. After leaving the doctor's office or pharmacy, patients should not have to second-guess whether their prescriptions are safe. Unfortunately, the chance of this happening to an unsuspecting patient exists: Just in the U.S. last year, the FDA warned 370 doctors in 38 states that they could have purchased counterfeit medications.

In light of Patient Safety Awareness Week, it is important to highlight some of the issues facing patients, including counterfeit medicines. Led by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), this week's campaign, "Patient Safety 7/365: 7 days of recognition, 365 days of commitment to safe care," is devoted to education and highlighting the importance of patient safety. The message is clear - while the campaign may only last a week, the need to constantly protect patients must be acknowledged year-round.

PhRMA understands the importance of patient safety, particularly as it relates to counterfeit medicines. For the past several years we have collaborated with The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) to spotlight the dangers of counterfeited drugs in the U.S. and abroad. Last week, Scott LaGanga, PhRMA Vice President for Advocacy and Public Affairs and Executive Director for PSM, spoke at a briefing on patient safety, detailing the problem of fake medicines and the need for cooperation among nations to solve this complex problem. While it is far worse in places like Africa and countries in South Asia, counterfeit drugs find their way inside our borders everyday through online purchases and trafficking.

The concerns cannot be understated. As long as counterfeit medicines are floating underneath our view, patients who mistakenly receive them can suffer adverse effects. As we continue to work toward solving this global problem, it's crucial to raise awareness throughout the year, and we encourage you to check back often to learn more about our partnership with PSM.

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