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New York elderly are at risk for prescription medication errors

Getting older usually means more aches and pains, which results in the taking of prescription medications. With that, there is an increase in medication errors on the part of the patient, doctor or pharmacist. Because of this risk, New York's governor is stepping up to the plate and supporting initiatives to develop standardized medication labels.

If you are a senior citizen and live in New York, you are one of 3.4 million senior adults that live there, making it the third highest senior population in the country.

Last year, the New York legislature passed legislation requiring the state's Board of Pharmacy to develop prescription labels that were easy to read with simple instructions. According to the Center for Medicare Education, approximately 30 percent of seniors have trouble reading and understanding prescription labels.

Currently, this New York legislation has not been implemented, and there is still no standardized format for prescription labels. Although medical professionals are normally dedicated to their patients, mistakes can happen through a variety of medical errors, from confusing labels to dispensing the wrong medication.

The hope is that once this law goes into effect, it will help reduce hospitalization and emergency room visits and improve the current prescription medication labeling.

Overall, while this legislation could help prevent unnecessary medication errors, the truth still remains that errors regarding medication can also still come from medical negligence on the part of hospitals, doctors and staff.

Source:, "Cuomo should help seniors with their meds," Michael J. Burgess and Nisha Agarwal, Jan. 16, 2012

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