National

Nov 4, 2009 12:55 PM by Associated Press

FDA launches plan to curb accidental overdoses

The Food and Drug Administration is launching a program to try and prevent millions of accidental drug overdoses that occur each year due to medication errors, misuse and other problems.

Under the plan, the FDA will work with physicians to identify the types of drugs that pose the greatest risks to patients. Proposals to improve safety include: simplifying drug labeling, standardizing dosage cups for cold medicines and requiring risk-management plans of drug manufacturers.

The agency will hold several public meetings to gather comments and plans to start its first initiatives within the next 12 months. The FDA says medication errors send 4 million Americans to the emergency room each year, resulting in 117,000 hospitalizations.

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