EMA Issues New Guidelines to Prevent Medication Errors

On April 14, 2015 the European Medicines Agency (“EMA”) released two drafts of good practice guides aimed at improving the reporting, evaluation and prevention of medication errors. The new guides are addressed to regulatory authorities, as well as the pharmaceutical industry.

Medication errors generally refer to unintended mistakes in the processes of prescribing, dispensing or administering of medicinal products in clinical practice and according to EMA they account for an estimated 18.7 – 56% of all adverse drug events among hospitalized patients.

The first guide released by EMA provides an overview of the main sources and types of medication errors, as well as measures to minimize the risks that such errors are made. The second guide, on the other hand, focuses on suspected adverse reactions caused by medication errors, providing guidance and recommendations on how to record, code, report and assess such errors.

The guidelines from EMA recommend a number of actions to marketing authorization holders, including the periodical reporting of information concerning medication errors. Recommendations to the industry include periodical safety update reports and risk management plans to be adopted for each marketed pharmaceutical product. The overall scope of these reporting obligations is to implement a real-life continuous evaluation of the risks and benefits of all medicines placed on the European market.

The two draft guidelines are now open to comments from all relevant stakeholders: the public consultation procedure will expire on June 14, 2015. The final version of the guidelines is expected to be finally adopted later in 2015.

More information and the new draft guides can be found here: http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/news_and_events/news/2015/04/news_detail_002307.jsp&mid=WC0b01ac058004d5c1.

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