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Medication Safety Week – April 1-7, 2025

Medication Safety Week is observed from April 1 to 7. It serves as a reminder that we must be more cautious about how we use and store our medications, as medication errors are the sixth leading cause of death. It’s important to know what you’re taking, how to take it correctly, and when to discard it. Medication Safety Week strives to educate both health professionals and consumers in order to reduce the risk of patient harm. Understanding how certain pharmaceuticals interact with other drugs, foods, and supplements is part of Medication Safety Week.

History of Medication Safety Week

From prehistoric times to the present day, the history of medicine demonstrates civilizations’ attitudes toward illness and disease have evolved. Early medical traditions can be found in Babylon, China, Egypt, and India. The ‘Hippocratic Oath,’ which was composed in ancient Greece in the 5th century B.C., is a direct inspiration for the oaths of office that physicians take today. Around 1220 A.D., universities in Italy began systematically training physicians. In the 19h century, rapid urbanization demanded the creation of public health measures.

In the early 20th century, advanced research institutions arose, often in collaboration with large hospitals. Antibiotics and other new biological treatments dominated the mid-20th century. Regardless of medical advances, the importance of medication safety cannot be overstated. The Institute for Safe Medication Practice (I.S.M.P.) was founded in 1957, and it began its work in 1975 by publishing a continuing section on medication safety in hospital pharmacies.

By 1981, I.S.M.P. co-founders Michael Cohen and Neil Davis had published “Medication Errors: Causes and Prevention,” a comprehensive treatise on the causes and prevention of drug errors.
Medication Safety Week was established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It strives to raise medication safety awareness among health professionals and consumers in order to limit the risk of injury by ensuring that medicines are used safely and effectively. Government agencies across the country hold seminars to further educate their communities on how to use prescription drugs safely.

Medication Safety Week timeline

The Institute for Safe Medication Practice Canada

I.S.M.P.'s international affiliate organization, the Institute for Safe Medication Practice in Canada, is founded.

The Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented during I.S.M.P.'s Cheers Awards Dinner to commemorate David Vogel, an I.S.M.P. Trustee.

I.S.M.P.s 10 Year Anniversary

I.S.M.P. celebrates its 10-year anniversary as a nonprofit organization and nearly three decades of enhancing the safety of medical products and professional practice.

Medication Safety Best Practices for Hospitals

The “ISMP Targeted Medication Safety Best Practices” for hospitals is published.

Medication Safety Week FAQs

What does ‘M.A.R.S.’ stand for in medicine?

The ‘Medication Administration Record Sheet’ (M.A.R.S.) is a working document used to keep track of medication administration.

What are the three steps in medication administration?

Check the patient’s name, check the medication strength, dosage, and frequency, and lastly check to see if the drug container has been compromised.

What are the five medication safety Rs?

The “five rights” are one of the recommendations for reducing pharmaceutical errors and harm: the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right time.

How to Observe Medication Safety Week

  1. Make a list of your medication

    Write out a list of all the medications or supplements you're taking right now, and why you're taking them. Each prescription should have both a generic and a brand name. This is a great way to keep track of your medicines so you know when and how to take them. The list will also help you during emergencies and if a doctor requires information about your current medicines.

  2. Store your medication properly

    All drugs should be kept in their original containers in a cool, dry location. Properly dispose of all expired drugs. Most pharmacies will accept your old medications and dispose of them properly. By doing so, you will be reducing the risk of taking expired medication in an environmentally-free manner.

  3. Read all medication labels

    Read the labels of medication in your home carefully to ensure that you are taking them according to your physician's directions. Also read the information that comes with your prescription to understand why you're taking this medicine, as well as the risks, benefits, and possible adverse effects.

5 Important Facts About Drugs

  1. 269 million narcotic users

    In a 2021 report, an estimate of 269 million people took narcotics at least once in the previous year..

  2. 500,000 drug-related deaths

    More than 500,000 drug-related deaths that occur each year are due to the use of opioids.

  3. Prescription medication deaths

    More people are killed by prescription medicines than by illegal narcotics.

  4. Medication misuse

    In the year 2019, 180,000 deaths were directly attributed to drug use problems.

  5. Most utilized drug

    Alcohol is the most abused drug, more than other common drugs.

Why Medication Safety Week is Important

  1. It keeps pharmaceutical companies afloat

    A pharmaceutical company's wheels keep turning thanks to drug safety. Because of the nature of drug safety, it is a very cross-functional endeavor. Drug safety adds value and contributes greatly to other elements of pharmaceutical businesses.

  2. It protects patient health and safety

    Medication safety ensures that a patient's health and safety are protected throughout the drug development process. Any new data is collected and reported to health authorities on a regular basis, and medications are regularly examined for other harmful effects on patients.

  3. Prevents medication harm

    Medicines are chemicals that, if taken correctly, can treat people, but if taken incorrectly, can cause difficulties. To avoid any negative side effects that may occur as a result of irresponsible medication use, extreme caution is essential. And this day is perfect for recognizes and informing individuals on the importance of correct medicine use.

Medication Safety Week dates

2025April 1Tuesday
2026April 1Wednesday
2027April 1Thursday
2028April 1Saturday
2029April 1Sunday
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