Expediency is often an appreciated trait for someone to have when one’s life is at stake. While that should work the same way when an organization is involved, you’ll rarely, if ever, hear anyone say the FDA is expedient about anything.
The same, frankly, can be said about healthcare in general. We’ve said as much here in the past. The FDA, however, has instituted some changes that they hope will speed drug approvals, labeling changes, and delivery for pharmaceuticals.
“When your physician or other health care professional prescribes your medicine using their e-prescribing system, the new safety information now displays much faster than with our previous system,” said Mary E. Kremzner, PharmD, MPH, and CAPT, of the U.S. Public Health Service.
According to a piece by Kremzner, what’s taken weeks, if not longer in the past, should now be handled within days.
“Within days of FDA approval of new drug safety information for a drug product, the information is entered into the safety labeling changes database. Health IT vendors that provide clinical and drug information support for hospitals and pharmacies are then alerted to integrate the safety labeling changes data into their systems.”
That database is even open to the public. With a quick search you can see information on a variety of drugs that are contained within. Earlier this year we talked about a number of medical practices that were quickly becoming outdated. One we discussed was a lack of detail listed on pharmaceutical labels. This new database would seem to help fill in any gaps that may currently exist in the data readily available.
While the industry still has a long way to go in order to recoup the $30 billion we’ve estimated in the past that the American healthcare system could save with improved technology and communication practices, this is a great first step. Progress is always important when lives could hang in the balance.