Medication Errors Can Lead to Serious Injury

The Institute of Medicine estimates that 1.5 million people are injured, sickened, or killed by medication errors. In his book, “Medication Errors”, editor Michael R. Cohen — a pharmacist and the president of the nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), as well as a 2005 recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” — defines a medication error as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer.” According to one study, 61% of these errors are attributable to illegible prescriptions or transcription errors.