PURPOSE: Reporting and analysing the data on medication errors (MEs) is important and contributes to a better understanding of the error-prone environment. This study aims to examine the characteristics of errors submitted to the National Medication Error Reporting System (MERS) in Malaysia.
METHODS: A retrospective review of reports received from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2012 was undertaken. Descriptive statistics method was applied.
RESULTS: A total of 17,357 MEs reported were reviewed. The majority of errors were from public-funded hospitals. Near misses were classified in 86.3 % of the errors. The majority of errors (98.1 %) had no harmful effects on the patients. Prescribing contributed to more than three-quarters of the overall errors (76.1 %). Pharmacists detected and reported the majority of errors (92.1 %). Cases of erroneous dosage or strength of medicine (30.75 %) were the leading type of error, whilst cardiovascular (25.4 %) was the most common category of drug found.
CONCLUSIONS: MERS provides rich information on the characteristics of reported MEs. Low contribution to reporting from healthcare facilities other than government hospitals and non-pharmacists requires further investigation. Thus, a feasible approach to promote MERS among healthcare providers in both public and private sectors needs to be formulated and strengthened. Preventive measures to minimise MEs should be directed to improve prescribing competency among the fallible prescribers identified.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.