News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • August 19, 2002
    “Before using any medicine, you should think through the benefits and the risks in order to make the best choice for you,” urges a new consumer brochure available from NCPIE and the FDA. “Think it Through: A Guide to Managing the Benefits and Risks of Medicines,” was produced by NCPIE and other organizations in the Partnership for Safe Medication Use.
  • August 15, 2002
  • August 10, 2002
    Health Group Urges Parents to Remember the Three R’s
  • July 23, 2002
    AARP’s “Modern Maturity” offers an extensive article on using medicines safely and appropriately. Noting that prescription medicines are life-savers "but only if they're used correctly,” the “Drug Smart” piece includes ethnic and gender considerations for proper dosing, definitions of common abbreviations used in prescriptions, guidelines for transporting medicines while traveling, and much more.
  • July 12, 2002
    FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee will meet July 17 in Gaithersburg, MD to discuss ways to improve the usefulness of consumer medication information (CMI). NCPIE’s Ray Bullman is scheduled to testify, based on written comments NCPIE submitted to FDA this week. After reviewing public policy initiatives to improve CMI, Bullman will outline a CMI research agenda. Copies of NCPIE’s comments are available upon request from
  • July 1, 2002
    Over two-thirds of the 28 million adults who are disabled have been prescribed one or more medications. While over 85% of this group indicated that they always use their medications as prescribed, four million disabled adults said they did not. Researchers J. Kennedy and C. Erb found that disabled adults without insurance were nearly four times more likely than those with private insurance to report medication noncompliance due to cost. Writing in the American Journal of Public Health (July 2002), they note that most of the
  • June 18, 2002
    A long-awaited national study of the distribution and “usefulness” of pharmacy-distributed patient medicine leaflets, whose results were released today by the FDA, found that 89% of patients received leaflets with their prescriptions. This exceeds the 75% target for the year 2000 that was set by a 1996 law. The study also had two panels of reviewers assess the quality of the leaflets, an “expert” panel and a consumer panel. While consumers were critical of leaflets' legibility, they were more positive about their comprehensiveness and usefulness, the researchers found.
  • June 12, 2002
    A study in the June 2002 Annals of Emergency Medicine found that of elderly patients presenting to an urban teaching hospital emergency room, the average number of prescription medications they were taking was six. However, only 42% of these patients were able to correctly identify all of their medicines.
  • June 4, 2002
    Use of so-called “COX-2 inhibitor” medicines, approved to treat arthritis, acute pain and other disorders, has led one pharmacy benefits manager to recommend that physicians start patients who are not at risk for gastro- intestinal events on a generic “NSAID” such as naproxen or ibuprofen. According to an internal study conducted by Express Scripts, 74% of new COX-2 users had no evidence of being at risk for gastrointestinal adverse events, “calling into question the overall cost-effectiveness of their use in “real world” practice.” The data were released today at their 2002
  • May 16, 2002

    At a New York City press conference today, NCPIE launched Phase II of its “Be MedWise” campaign, to coincide with the implementation date (May 16) of the new “Drug Facts” label required on most non-prescription medicines. NCPIE’s Ray Bullman (far right in photo below) was joined by the FDA’s Drs. Jonca Bull and Linda Katz; Ellen Shapiro (FDA), and NCPIE pharmacist advisor Linda Bernstein, Pharm.D., in lauding the revamped, simplified Drug Facts label.