ABOUT PREVENT MEDICAL ERROR
Prevent Medical Error (PME) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing best practices.
Medical Errors- What Motivates PME?
Medical errors are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.
- Adverse drug events
- Transfers of care
- Transcription errors
- Loss of focus on patient care
- Cascades of small errors
are all leading triggers of these negative outcomes. Along with current systems and changing environments, globalization and outsourcing also increase risk of error because they convolute and lengthen supply chains and the time it takes for patients to receive the medical care that they need.
When patients and providers are able to collaborate and stay focused on patient care, medical errors are more easily identified. Adequate prevention and response systems can be put into place proactively. This shifts the focus back to what health care is supposed to be about- helping patients lead healthy and productive lives.
Preventing medical errors also reduces costs. Cost savings may be realized and/or utilized to provide better oversight and higher quality health care to more people.
PME came into existence in 2002 when the Founding Director was volunteering as a patient advocate. She began to notice potential problems with certain Ranbaxy brand generic drugs.
The following year, after tracing a drug shortage back to a pharmaceutical subcontractor, she learned while reading their financial filings that the injectable drug that she was taking was adulterated – it was contaminated during manufacturing. Subsequently, a few of the vials were tampered with in distribution channels- they were counterfeited.
Her bad luck continued. In an ironic twist of fate, she was given a two-week life expectancy and almost died after taking an adulterated Ranbaxy prescription drug. While most people would have put their plans on hold to attend to their health, for her, it was a call to action. It motivated her to focus PME’s mission and to help identify and get these, and other adulterated and counterfeit drugs off pharmacy shelves and out of patient hands.
Drug Safety and Alternatives
Outpatient prescription drug use- including generic drugs and specialty drugs- has risen and is expected to continue to increase. The trend of drug shortages is expected to continue. Other medication access issues- including the growing number of patients who cannot afford their prescription drugs and safe access to compounded prescription drugs have risen dramatically. The opioid crisis continues to take its toll and needlessly result in death.
All of these factors combine to put patients at higher risk of getting an adulterated or counterfeit drug. If you or a loved one are taking multiple prescription drugs on an ongoing basis, it is virtually guaranteed you will get an adulterated or counterfeit drug. The only remaining question is: How many different unfit dispenses will you get? At the same time, the cost of PME’s drug safety project has increased dramatically and now far exceeds our resources. In response, PME has adjusted its scope to incorporate wellness approaches, and other alternatives to prescription drugs.
Prevent Medical Error currently receives no industry or government funding. We are privately funded by donations and discounts from individuals and small businesses. We also rely on and are extremely grateful for the heroic efforts of providers and first responders, and all those anonymous “angels :)” who remove obstacles that get in our way.