SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-San Fernando Valley) 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.
In introducing this legislation, which is designated AB 387, Assemblymember Gabriel made the following remarks:
“For some patients, especially seniors, there can be severe consequences for failing to distinguish between two medications that look or sound alike. 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,” Gabriel added. “I’m confident that the whole incident could have been avoided with better labeling.”
Assemblymember Gabriel introduced AB 387 in partnership with the California Senior Legislature (CSL) 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 whose primary mission is to enhance the quality of life for older Californians and their families. The CSL 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 Senior Assemblymember Gould. “We can help prevent this tragedy simply by listing the purpose of the medication on the prescription label. 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.”
“I’m proud to partner with the Senior Legislature to advance this proposal,” Gabriel added. “Seniors have repeatedly told us that better prescription drug labeling is a top priority, and it’s past time that we listen to them.”
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, adverse drug events account for nearly 700,000 emergency room visits and 100,000 hospitalizations each year. Seniors are at an elevated risk for adverse drug effects because they are more likely to take multiple medications and are more vulnerable to specific adverse effects as compared to younger patients.
Jesse Gabriel serves in the Assembly Leadership as Assistant Majority Whip. He represents the 45th Assembly District, which encompasses much of the west San Fernando Valley. Assemblymember Gabriel currently serves on the Committees on Appropriations, Banking and Finance, Higher Education, Housing and Community Development, and Privacy and Consumer Protection.
Contact: Alicia Isaacs, (916) 319-2045