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Medical News and Perspectives
April 14, 2004

Bar Codes Mandated for Hospital Meds

JAMA. 2004;291(14):1685-1686. doi:10.1001/jama.291.14.1685

To reduce the number of medication errors in hospitals, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon require bar codes—similar to those found on consumer goods—on most prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The FDA estimates that the measure will help prevent nearly 500 000 medical mistakes over 20 years and save $93 billion in costs. According to the Institute of Medicine, as many as 98 000 individuals die each year due to medical errors, including errors involving drug administration.

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