These reports that are sent to the FDA by hospitals, medical centers, and pharmacies are all voluntary, and institutions may conceal the number of errors in order to avoid bad press.
The lack of true reporting may save a company's reputation, but it doesn't give them a chance to learn from their mistakes. Without intervention, the next prescription error in Houston could be life-threatening:
- A man died of a massive hemorrhage after he mistakenly received a dose of the blood thinner warfarin that was intended for another patient.
- A cancer patient was given a prescription for 260 milligrams of Taxol, but the pharmacy mistakenly gave him 260 milligrams of Taxotere instead. While both are chemotherapy drugs, Taxotere has a much higher concentration. The patient died of an overdose, but it was generally assumed he had died as a result of the cancer rather than a medication mistake.