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.
Hampton T. Bar Codes Mandated for Hospital Meds. JAMA. 2004;291(14):1685-1686. doi:10.1001/jama.291.14.1685