Drug Name Confusion Causes Serious Mistakes

Confusing or similar drug names can cause serious mix-ups.

The government has a system in place to try to keep drugs that look or sound alike from ending up on the market together. But the pharmaceutical industry has been pushing to kill the system.

There are nearly 800 pairs of drugs like Clindesse and Clindets that look or sound alike, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, or ISMP, a patient safety group that compiled a list of them. And the ISMP says all of these similarly named drugs are a big problem, because name mix-ups are responsible for about 25 percent of all medication errors.

While the government does have a system in place to avoid such mix-ups, the pharmaceutical companies are fighting against such safeguards as they are found to be cumbersome to the process of getting drugs to market.

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