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HMC Doctors Slip Often in Prescription

Highlighting the role of pharmacists in ensuring proper , a recent study has revealed that pharmacists at primary centres in detected at least 890 prescription errors over a period of three months.

Out of a total of 82,800 doctors’ prescriptions from January to March 2008, prescriptions of 594 patients were checked for suspected errors. The number of interventions made for drug-related problems during the period was 890, according to the study, published in the international medical journal Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety. The study was based on documentation done by pharmacists in four primary healthcare centres.

Worldwide, clinicians are often not good at implementing drug prescription guidelines, resulting in under-use, overuse, and misuse of drugs. The study highlights the role of pharmacists in ensuring the safety of the medication prescribed and dispensed to patients. The study brings both, the issue of patient safety and the potential role of the pharmacist in enhancing patient safety, to the forefront.

It also provides an insight into the potential role of pharmacists in promoting rational drug use in Qatar. The study provides evidence of the magnitude of avoidable prescribing errors that pharmacists could intercept in outpatient pharmacies.

Over half of all errors were related to drug choice problems, out of which inappropriate drug therapy amounted to 39 percent of the total, followed closely by duplicate therapy in 32 percent of the cases. In interventions classified as safety problems, 188 of a total of 363 (51 percent) interventions were related to dosing errors.

At the clinician’s level, 53 percent of all interventions made were accepted and the treatment modified. In 35 percent of the cases dosage was changed and in 20 percent of the cases the drug was changed. Of the prescriptions intercepted, 10.8 percent were for children below the age of five years and 3.5 percent were for children who were aged between six and 12 years. In 83 percent of the cases the patients were aged between 13 and 59 years.

The study aimed to characterize and analyse interventions documented by pharmacists in outpatient pharmacies of primary healthcare centres in Qatar. The study was jointly done by Richard Hooper of Department, QP; Abdullah Adam, Pharmacy Department, , QP and Nadir Kheir from College of Pharmacy, Qatar University.

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