HEALTH CARE providers, including physicians, pharmacists, and private medical groups, have 5 more years to reach the goal of providing three fourths of their patients with adequate information about prescription drugs. If they don't, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will step in and make a patient education program mandatory.
This warning was delivered by FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler, MD, at the 10th National Conference on Prescription Medicine Information and Education (NCPIE), held in Washington, DC, last month. "If during the next 5 years we reach this objective, we will know we are on the right track," Kessler said. The NCPIE was created 13 years ago for the express purpose of educating patients about the prescription medicines they are told to take.
Kessler's challenge is the latest step in a 20-year effort to provide adequate information to patients about the drugs their physicians prescribe and the correct way to