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November 7, 2001

Reducing Medication Errors

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(17):2091-2092. doi:10.1001/jama.286.17.2091

To the Editor: In the Clinical Crossroads article describing a medication error,1 Dr Bates states that the patient did not receive counseling from a pharmacist. He cites a reference from a 1993 article2 that "only 4.3% of patients using a chain pharmacy and 2.7% using an independent pharmacy received counseling," and states that "Ms K's experience with her pharmacist is more the norm than the exception." However, this reference is both out of date and out of context because Bates refers to "patient-initiated counseling"—a subset of the 1993 study. The overall rates of pharmacist- and patient-initiated counseling provided by independent pharmacists, according to the study, was actually 10.7%. In addition, the study looked at only a small group of pharmacists (47 employed by chain pharmacies; 26 independent) 8 years ago and at the onset of Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 counseling regulations that have placed an increased emphasis on patient counseling by community pharmacists.

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