Regulators demand changes in Heparin packaging.
The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, a toothless, voluntary group of hospital officials who self-regulate the hospital industry, called on the manufacturers of the blood-thinner Heparin to revise the packaging of their product. They pointed to the fact that nearly 60,000 hospital mistakes have led to dozens of heparin deaths in recent years, and blame the problem on a confusing similarity between adult and children's exterior packaging. At least 28 deaths have been recorded, and Dennis Quaid has been effectively seeking publicity for the issue after his newborn twins were poisoned by an over-dose of adult-strength Heparin. The spokesman for the JCAH acknowledged that " we know there are many more [deaths] and...that's the reason for issuing this alert".
With 59,316 reported medication errors in the past six years, resulting in roughly 1700 instances of patient harm or death, you would think that the manufacturers would listen: maybe they are counting on the U.S. Supreme Court granting them preemption status [because the drug was approved by the FDA] and immunity. That argument has been success for them recently, and with a progressively more conservative Supreme Court majority, it may be possible that they will achieve protection regardless of the severity of the problem. This summer, even the doctors who compose the editorial board of the most-respected medical journal in the country went on record opposing preemptive immunity for the drug manufacturers (see the earlier web log entry addressing that topic).