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The following are excerpts from the newsletter

March 8, 2012

  • Good intention, uncertain outcome...
    Our take on physician dispensing in offices and clinics
  • Safety Brief: Good news on heparin labeling. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) published notice of its intent to revise the labeling section of the USP Heparin Sodium Injection monograph to address the growing safety concern of containers with labels that do not clearly express the total drug strength (www.usp.org/usp-nf/notices/heparin-sodium-injection).
  • Safety Brief: Counterfeit drugs hit the radar screen again. In early February, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had discovered an unlicensed supplier selling fake bevacizumab injectables (under the brand name AVASTIN) to oncology practices.
  • Safety Brief: Product-related eye and ear medication errors. The American Association of Eye and Ear Centers of Excellence (AAEECE) is conducting a “worldwide patient safety initiative” to review information about look and sound-alike medication names. As part of the initiative, AAEECE is conducting a brief survey on look- and sound-alike eye- and ear-related medication name mix-ups, which you can access at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/7FVF5T7.
  • Safety Brief: Tall man letters used to stop recurring mix-up.  A pharmacist reported that his hospital has had at least three cases in the last 2 months of confusion between atorvastatin 40 mg (LIPITOR) and atomoxetine 40 mg (STRATTERA) when dispensing these medications. The pharmacy department has started using tall man letters to help differentiate the two—atorvaSTATin and atoMOXetine.
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