Lahore-On average 18.3 percent of adverse events in hospitals occur due to medication errors, while approximately 3 percent of hospital deaths are caused by these incidents, and in Pakistan, around 0·5 million people are reported to die each year due to such errors.

This was disclosed by health experts while speaking at a webinar ‘Medication without harm’ held here on Tuesday with Chief Executive Officer PHC Dr Muhammad Saqib Aziz in the chair. Senior officials of the Commission and health experts attended the event. CEO Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital Dr Faisal Sultan, Director Pharmacy Division Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), Dr Noor Muhamad Shah and Councillor College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) Prof Dr Muhammad Tayyab gave details presentations regarding their respective areas. Health experts also asked the medics to strictly follow standardised medical and clinical protocols for prescribing medicines and treating patients, and in case of any negligence, authorities concerned must thoroughly root-cause analysis of the matters to take corrective actions and prevent future occurrences. 

In his opening remarks, Dr Saqib Aziz said the objective would be to empower healthcare professionals, patients, and health information professionals to support the elimination of preventable harm due to medication errors and achieve the highest quality in health care possible.

He also explained the various manifestations of medication errors and highlighted the four domains for medication safety that include the public and patients, professionals, medicines and the systems. He observed that medication safety was a global patient safety challenge, and even in a country like America, adverse drug events range between 2 to 6 per 100 admissions.

He elaborated on various aspects and facets of medication errors, adding that such errors occurred due to weak medication management systems, and human factors, which would adversely affect prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring practices, which could result in severe patient harm, disability and even death. While bringing to focus on PHC’s key objective of ‘Ensuring patient safety by improving quality of care’, Dr Saqib Aziz mentioned that the management of medication (MoM) was a core functional area of the minimum service delivery standards (MSDS) of the PHC, and it encompassed all essential components of medication-related standards to assure the medication safety and avert medication errors.

Keeping in view the theme of patient safety day, a presentation was made by Dr Faisal Sultan. He elaborated on the mechanism of the SKMH&RC to avoid medication errors, and in case of an adverse event, he mentioned the remedial measures after finalising a probe into such mistakes. 

In continuation, an insightful presentation on drug utilisation review and risk assessment plan for medication safety was delivered by Prof Muhammad Tayyab, which was followed by a presentation on ‘Pharmacovigilance System: Overview of Pakistan’ by Dr Noor Muhamad Shah.