The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a Global Patient Safety Challenge focused on medication safety. The goal of this global initiative: reduce medication-related errors by 50 percent over the next 5 years.
There’s good reason — health-related and financial — to make this issue the focus of the WHO’s third global patient safety challenge. In the United States alone, medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure about 1.3 million people every year.1 The global annual cost associated with medication errors is estimated at $42 billion.
The WHO initiative plans to address medication-related errors in the following ways:
- Address weaknesses in health systems that lead to medication errors
- Improve the way we prescribe, distribute, and consume medications
- Increase patients’ awareness of the risks associated with improper medication use