Medication errors: the importance of safe dispensing

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1. Although rates of dispensing errors are generally low, further improvements in pharmacy distribution systems are still important because pharmacies dispense such high volumes of medications that even a low error rate can translate into a large number of errors.2. From the perspective of pharmacy organization and quality assurance, pharmacists should intensify their checking of prescriptions, in order to reduce prescription errors, and should implement strategies to communicate adequately with patients, in order to prevent administration errors. More and better studies are still needed in these areas.3. More research is also required into: dispensing errors in out-patient health-care settings, such as community pharmacies in the USA and Europe; dispensing errors in hospitals and out-patient health-care settings in middle- and low-income countries; and the underlying causes of dispensing errors.

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