Color-Coding Technology: 50 Shades of Grey Pills?

Color-coding technology may be one of the most valuable tools to consider when it comes to prescription medications. The rainbow of pills lining the shelves of our local drug stores do not simply appeal to an eccentric and liberal palate; they are a product of color-coding technology that is used to provide security to both the patient and the healthcare industry. Pharmaceutical companies know the importance of quality control and color application in the production of prescription medications and the equipment needed to maintain safety. Spectrophotometers provide the essential piece of technology needed to monitor and develop pharmaceutical products that are easy to identify, which can play a crucial role towards eliminating the extensive margin of human error.

Although advancements in pharmaceuticals and medications have led to a significant increase in quality of life, the variety and sheer number of prescription medications on the market today have greatly increased the numbers of errors. Today, more medical mistakes are linked to prescription drugs than any other cause, and have created a crisis in the healthcare industry that has led to financial and even fatal consequences.

Taking pill identification beyond “Little, Yellow”

Research by the Institute of Medicine has shown that approximately four out of five adults take some form of medication every week, and nearly one-third of those individuals are taking a least five or more various pills per day. With the number of prescription drugs at an all-time high, the ability to differentiate between liquid, powder, capsule, or pill is getting more and more difficult and the human eye alone cannot accurately differentiate between them. Added to the fact that prescriptions today are labeled with names that sound and look very similar, any miscalculations can have extremely harmful outcomes.That is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), and the Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA) are all working together to create and enforce stricter guidelines for specific labeling and advancement in spectrophotometers, color-technology, and the color-coding of prescription medications.

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Statistics show that more than half of the prescription medications consumed in our nation are used by the elderly population. Therefore, it is no wonder that the senior population accounts for a high number of adverse drug events (ADEs) each year. Even more alarming is that the majority of these cases have been considered preventable errors that were linked to prescription medications. Although the FDA, CDER, and DMEPA are all working towards better labeling to prevent such errors, Medicare is pushing these agencies to focus on the area of color-coding as the number one resource for elderly patients to differentiate their medications. Small imprints and labeling are nearly impossible for most elderly patients to read, therefore bold and accurate color differentiation is vital towards helping this demographic to decipher their medications and avoid devastating errors.

How color technology can save lives

Lotsa pills
In the pharmaceutical industry, color plays a significant role in specifying medication types. Having the right equipment to help with this task is crucial.
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Doctors, pharmacists, and patients all rely on color, shape, and size to differentiate between common pharmaceutical products. Human error accounts for more than half of all the reported medical errors in our nation. Spectrophotometers and color-coding technology play an important role in creating products that are easy to identify and consistent in color.

HunterLab spectrophotometers can be used to prevent many of these errors from occurring, and our services include the support and training needed to use this technology effectively. Specific guidelines must be followed and federal agencies are demanding that pharmaceutical companies take all the necessary steps in color-coding and technology to insure that these errors are indeed being prevented. HunterLab is a trusted leader in spectrophotometry and offers a variety of products that assist in developing pharmaceutical products that are easily identifiable and consistent in color, which provides assurance to both the manufacturer and the patient. Contact HunterLab today to see how you can ensure total compliance.

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