Hospital Drug Diversions Led to Infection Outbreaks
the MPR take:
At least 6 infection outbreaks have occurred since 2004 due to drug diversions by healthcare workers in the U.S., according to a new report in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Two of the outbreaks involved a gram-negative bacteremia in 34 patients, with the other 4 resulting in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in 84 patients. The hospitals that were the sites of the outbreaks were located in 8 states and injectable controlled substances were documented or suspected in all of the outbreaks. Tampering with and diverting fentanyl occurred in at least 4 of these outbreaks. Tamper-resistant and tamper-evident syringes, automated dispensing cabinets with security features that allow for control and tracking of drug distribution, algorithmic auditing of pharmacy and other dispensing records, and testing to verify the identity or concentration of wasted drugs could help to prevent these diversions and subsequent outbreaks.
The report published June 2 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings outlines infection outbreaks that have occurred in the past 10 years as a result of drug diversion -- the use of prescription drugs for unintended, illegal purposes -- committed by health care providers who stole or tampered with their patients' injectable medications.
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