Med errors, licensure top agenda at NABP confab

June 18, 2007

Delegates at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy debate ePedigrees, medical errors, and Internet pharmacies

Concern over drug errors, following the TV expose on "20-20," was a big issue at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy 103rd Annual Meeting, held in Portland, Ore., last month. In a presentation to the conference, Michael Cohen, R.Ph., president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, called on pharmacy boards to improve systems for reporting drug errors following the recommendations of the 2006 Institute of Medicine report, Preventing Medication Errors.

"We're disappointed on the uptake of this report," Cohen commented. He also noted that many states were developing their own systems, but called instead for a national solution. NABP did pass a resolution encouraging boards to participate in a medication error-reporting program and to develop a standardized approach to error reporting.

In recent years, a growing number of pharmacists have been excluded from the Medicare and Medicaid programs by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health & Human Services after being sanctioned by pharmacy boards. As a result, board members worry that OIG actions were adding unintended additional penalties to those already meted out by pharmacy boards. To address the problem, NABP members passed a resolution to increase dialogue with OIG and develop new legislation that might protect R.Ph.s from inappropriate OIG sanctions.