Wrong drug in packs of medicine given to up to 63 diabetes patients

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 April, 2009, 12:00am

Up to 63 diabetes patients could have taken the wrong medicine after drug dispensers at the Lady Trench General Outpatient Clinic in Tsuen Wan mixed up their tablets with drugs for controlling high blood pressure, the Hospital Authority revealed last night.

The authority said that during a routine inspection yesterday morning, a pharmacist at the clinic found a tablet of the anti-hypertensive drug diltiazem in a pack of the diabetes drug glibenclamide.

All 63 of the patients to whom the mixed drugs could have been dispensed had been contacted by the clinic yesterday about the error and asked to stop using the drug and to revisit the clinic for a switch.

Nine out of 58 drug packs returned were found to contain a mix of the blood pressure and diabetes drugs, and five patients were still to return their supply.

An authority spokeswoman did not rule out some patients might have taken the wrong drugs, but she said no 'serious impacts' on patients had been found.

She said the mixing up of the drugs was the result of human error by a pharmacy employee who might not have followed proper procedures. 'We believe it is a human error ... as both drugs are of white colour and similar size,' she said.

The community medicine and primary health care division of the authority's West Kowloon cluster apologised to the affected patients and pledged to offer any necessary help to them. It said the blunder was reported to headquarters immediately and the employee concerned might face disciplinary action.