Select Committee on Health Written Evidence

Memorandum by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine (PS 30)


1.   What do you consider are the main risks to patients within your speciality area?

  a)  The inappropriate use of medicines, whether by dose, indication or combination

  b)  Not recognising side effects

2.   What are the principal causes of harm to patients within your specialty?

  a)  The lack of knowledge and understanding of

    —  Pharmacology

    —  The Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPCs) of medicines, in particular their indications, warnings and contraindications

    —  Interactions

    —  Dosages

    —  Use outside of licensed indications

    —  Use in certain patient groups eg paediatrics, the elderly

  b)  Inexperienced investigators, including principal investigators, in Phase 1 and 2 studies

3.   What actions should be taken to reduce harm within your specialty?

  a)  Easy availability and access to SMPCs

  b)  Increased pharmacology / therapeutics training at medical school

  c)  Greater emphasis on good prescribing in early post-qualification years

4.   What would you like to see done to increase the safety of patients in the NHS as a whole?

  Better training and updating on the appropriate use of individual medicines as per the responses above, but also class use, eg antibiotic prescribing.

September 2008

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