We’ve been talking about bar codes, UPC’s, and today the FDA put out an alert concerning an incorrect bar code that could cause patients to be overdosed. The question remains about how we can protect ourselves from food poisoning and melamine when we can’t easily determine the country of origin at the point of sale?

Here is the FDA Alert:

Hospira, Inc. notified healthcare professionals of a recall of one lot (lot number 65-620-FW, expiration date May 1, 2010, NDC 0409-7902-09) of 20 mEq Potassium Chloride in 5% Dextrose and 0.45% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP in 1000 mL flexible plastic containers. A small number of the containers may be incorrectly labeled with a bar code for 5% Dextrose Injection, USP (NDC 0409-7922-09). The incorrect bar code could lead to a medication error resulting in the wrong drug being delivered to a patient if a bar code system is used to confirm the medication. Potential adverse events related to an error of this type include electrolyte imbalance, cardiac dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbances, paresthesia and mental confusion. The affected lot was shipped to U.S. customers between July 2008 and September 2008. Healthcare facilities with an existing inventory should quarantine the product immediately and call Hospira Customer Care at 1-877-946-7747 for instructions on how to return it.

Read the MedWatch 2008 safety summary, including a link to the company's press release, at:

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2008/safety08.htm#20meqPotChlor 

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