Medication errors from injectable drugs harm more than a million people and cost an average of $600,000 per hospital each year, a new study proclaims.

The study—the first to specifically examine adverse drug events (ADEs) from injectable medication—was published online on December 12, 2012, by American Health & Drug Benefits and reported by PR Newswire online. It highlights the incredible financial burden that such errors have on hospitals, patients, and the U.S. healthcare system in general. The most significant findings are the following:

  • Preventable ADEs associated with injectable drugs have an impact on more than a million hospitalizations annually.
  • Preventable ADEs associated with injectable drugs cost U.S. healthcare payers from $2.7 billion to $5.1 billion per year. The average cost to a hospital is $600,000.
  • The total annual medical professional liability (MPL) cost of inpatient ADEs from injectable medications is $300 million to $610 million. This translates to an average of $72,000 per hospital annually.

Sources of Information for the Study

The study, commissioned by Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and Milliman Inc., drew information from the following sources:

  • databases with information on medication errors, inpatient medication use, and medical costs;
  • findings from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHE) study on adverse drug events;
  • MPL databases; and
  • insurance rate information.

Author Reactions

After doing the research, compiling all the data, and drawing conclusions, some of the study’s authors noted the value of this effort: 

“Our study highlights an unnecessary source of wasted healthcare resources and poor outcomes—injectable medication errors that cause harm to patients being treated in a hospital…New solutions to improve injectable medication processes are needed to minimize the burden on payers and reduce the risk for both the patient and the healthcare setting.”—Betsy Lahue, MPH, Vice President, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, BD

“Our study used actuarial methods and pulled from multiple sources of data relevant to this critical issue, which means that decision-makers can now see where the problems are and target prevention efforts.”—Bruce Pyenson, principal and consulting actuary at Milliman

“The good news is this is a problem that can be ameliorated. Now that we know more about the types of medications and illnesses most associated with these harmful errors, we can take steps to better focus our efforts to minimize the risks to patient care.”—Dr. Jeffrey Rothschild, co-author and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Medication errors in Kentucky can ruin one’s health or even kill.If you are living with an injury caused by a medication error in Kentucky, contact Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation with one of our Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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