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The Headline versus the Text

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Seniors face greater risk of injury from prescription drug mistakes, new study finds. So reads a FindLaw headline. A normal reader might conclude that negligent doctors are writing off old folks, misprescribing medicines or doses.

A read of the article reveals something quite different. One quarter of elderly folks receive prescriptions from more than five doctors, and misinform each doctor of drugs the others have prescribed. An equal percentage (25%) of seniors fill their prescriptions at more than three pharmacies (the cost of "buying Canadian", perhaps?), thereby preventing effective cross-checking of prescriptions that may be incompatible with each other.

Who's to blame here, the health care provider (as the headline might suggest) or the patient? Or maybe the privacy laws that prevent providers and pharmacies from accessing personal information?

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.