This year's theme is "Preventing Medication Errors: What YOU Need to Know / What YOU Need to Do." Our purpose is three-fold with this year's observance:
- To help call attention to the magnitude of personal health problems due to avoidable medication errors;
- To encourage every affected person or group -- including consumers, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, voluntary health agencies, and local, state and national government agencies to get involved in combating medication errors;
- To suggest ways that consumers, their healthcare providers, and public, private, and voluntary organizations can get involved to drive down medication errors, and by doing so, help promote safe and appropriate medicine use.
The Past as Prologue...
In 2005, the theme for NCPIE's "Talk About Prescriptions" Month theme was "The 3Rs for Safe Medicine Use." That simple, yet compelling theme drew attention to three learning key points to help promote safe and appropriate medicine use: 1) Risk - recognize that all medicines (prescription and nonprescription) have risks as well as benefits; and you need to weigh these risks and benefits carefully for every medicine you take; 2) Respect - respect the power of your medicine and the value of medicines properly used; and 3) Responsibility - take personal or family responsibility for learning about how to take each medication safely. Being responsible also means following this important rule: when in doubt, ask first. Your healthcare professional can help you get the facts you need to use medicines correctly.
Looking Back/Moving Ahead...
The first national "Talk About Prescriptions" Month was authorized by NCPIE's board of directors in October 1986. At that time, few health observances dotted the health planning calendar. This year, October 2006, represents NCPIE's 21st national sponsorship of "Talk About Prescriptions" Month. The very first, and successive themes for "Talk About Prescriptions" Month, is telling in many respects as to NCPIE's longstanding contention that better medicine communication can lead to better medicine use, which can lead to better health outcomes. Symbolically, that's Better medicine communication ~ Better medicine use ~ Better health outcomes.
NCPIE's initial "Talk About Prescriptions" Month planning materials in 1986, featured a lead article by then-Chairman, the Hon. Paul G. Rogers, entitled, "Paul Rogers' Challenge: You Are the Key." This and several other "TAP" Month articles bear repeating in 2006, not just for their prescience but because two decades later they still communicate what we all can do more of and do better as we enter into our 21st annual observance of "Talk About Prescriptions" Month, and as the U.S. starts to set into motion a nationally re-energized response to address the critical call to action raised by the Institute of Medicine's recently released report, "Preventing Medication Errors."*
* Copies of Preventing Medication Errors are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu
. The full text of this report is available at http://www.nap.edu