Council Releases Recommendations to Minimize Potential for Medication Errors Due to Drug Name Suffixes

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP /the Council) has issued a set of recommendations to help minimize the potential for errors associated with the use of suffixes in some drug names. (Examples of suffixes include CD, SR, etc.) The Council calls upon regulatory and standards-setting agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, practitioners, and other stakeholders to collaborate in implementing strategies to address this issue. The Council recommends the immediate development of educational tools and programs for practitioners and consumers designed to help minimize the potential for error and enhanced reporting of suffix-related errors. The Council’s Recommendations also call for the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies, standards-setting organizations, practitioners, and the public to work together to: · Establish processes for “good naming practices" · Evaluate drug names with suffixes for potential for error · Encourage feedback regarding the adequacy of standards in addressing the issue This set of recommendations emanates from a conference organized by the Council. Four critical stakeholder perspectives regarding the use of suffixes in drug names were presented and explored: the patient safety perspective, the practitioner/provider perspective, the regulatory/standards-setting perspectives, and the industry perspective. Meeting participants also worked to achieve a better understanding of the underlying causes associated with suffix-related errors and to identify strategies for preventing these errors.