New labeling proposed for medications

Law to prevent taking wrong drugs

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-San Fernando Valley) recently introduced legislation to protect patients by requiring physicians to include the purpose of any prescription medication on the medication’s label, unless the patient opts out.

Labeling medications will help to avoid confusion and reduce the risk of adverse drug events—including medication errors, adverse or allergic reactions, and overdoses for patients taking multiple medications, said Gabriel, whose district includes Calabasas.

The bill is known as AB 387.

“For some patients, especially seniors, there can be severe consequences for failing to distinguish between two medications that look or sound alike,” Gabriel said. “Requiring doctors to note the purpose of a medication on its label is an easy way to avoid confusion, reduce errors and improve patient safety.

“A few years ago, my grandfather had a scary episode when he was traveling and confused one of his prescription medicines with another drug. I’m confident that the whole incident could have been avoided with better labeling.”

Gabriel introduced AB 387 in partnership with the California Senior Legislature and senior Assemblymember Marcia Gould, who represents seniors in the west San Fernando Valley.

The CSL is a volunteer advisory body chartered by the Legislature with a primary mission to enhance the quality of life for older Californians and their families. It gathers ideas for legislation, crafts formal proposals, and advocates for changes to existing law.

“People are dying every year because they are mistakenly taking the wrong medication,” said Gould. “Many medications look alike and have similar names. Having the purpose on the label will make it safer for patients at home, in hospitals and in care facilities.”

(As excerpted from the Acorn)