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Clinical pharmacology consultations for safety, education and profit
  1. Loretta S Loftus1,
  2. Gerald H Sokol2
  1. 1Medicine and Oncology, University of South Florida College of Medicine and H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida, USA
  2. 2Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr L S Loftus, Professor, Medicine and Oncology, University of South Florida College of Medicine and H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, Florida 33612, USA; loretta.loftus{at}

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Clinical pharmacologists enjoy an active professional life in the academic, government and pharmaceutical industry arenas but they also belong in the community to provide consultations for the complexities of patient care in hospitals and professional clinics. The Institute of Medicine's (IOM) landmark report, To err is human: building a safer health system, brought the significance of medical errors and need for healthcare safety to the forefront. As many as 44 000–98 000 people each year were estimated to die in hospitals as a result of medical errors at that time. Medical error, defined as the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim, included adverse drug events, improper transfusions, surgical injuries, wrong site surgery, suicides, restraint related injuries or death, falls, burns, pressure ulcers and mistaken patient identities.1 Medication errors pose a major threat to patient safety and occurred with significant frequency in 5.22% of patients admitted annually to hospitals in one study.2 The cost in human lives from preventable medical errors is staggering enough but there is the additional financial cost due to prolonged hospitalisations, lost household income, productivity and disability, estimated at between $17 billion and $29 billion annually by …

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