Australia joins push to reduce medication errors

medication errors
Copyright: natalia7 / 123RF Stock Photo

A global drive to reduce medication errors by 50 per cent within five years was launched in Brisbane earlier this month, as part of a new push by the World Health Organization to save lives and reduce the harm caused by medication mix-ups.

The WHO’s third Global Patient Safety Challenge, called ‘Medication Without Harm’, aims to help countries strengthen their systems for preventing medication errors, which are estimated to cost US$42 billion annually—with people in low-income countries disproportionately affected.

Medication errors are a problem in Australia, as they are in other countries. Previous estimates indicate between two and three per cent of all Australian hospital admissions are medication-related. This suggests at least 230,000 admissions annually in this country are caused by patients taking too much or too little of a medicine, or taking the wrong medicine—with an estimated annual cost of at least $1.2 billion.

Medication errors can occur for a number of reasons, including human and other factors affecting how medicines are prescribed, dispensed or administered.

Improving medication safety is a key area of focus for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, which facilitated WHO’s regional campaign launch with the Australian Government Department of Health.

Previous articleEating vegetables good for teeth
Next articleDental healthcare: a false economy?


  1. Of course those are the reported stats, we feel this is really just the tip of the iceberg. We do a lot of work in nursing homes and over the last 12 mths in many nursing homes we saw the shift from RN’s giving out medications change to PCAs, as a result the medication errors to our patients increased significantly, some who went to hospital as a results, however many were managed by the GP.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here