Abbott bar codes hospital injectables

Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL, reported late in March that it had completed its initiative to apply unit-of-use bar codes to all of its hospital injectable pharmaceuticals and intravenous solutions.

These total more than 1ꯠ products.

Abbott has been working for several years to study and implement this plan, and it announced its commitment last July, well ahead of U.S. Food and Drug Administration hearings on bar coding of pharmaceuticals. Bar codes allow a nurse to scan a patient’s wristband, the nurse’s badge, and the drug to be administered to match all with a computerized list, all to prevent medication errors.

About 25% of these Abbott products incorporate Reduced Space Symbology® from the Uniform Code Council (Dayton, OH) that allows for a miniaturized bar code to be applied to single-unit containers. “We’re pleased to have completed our initiative, which underscores Abbott’s commitment to enhancing patient safety through continued innovation in products, programs, and processes,” said Christopher B. Begley, senior vice president of hospital products at Abbott. “This accomplishment is a key component to Abbott’s larger medication management strategy.”

Abbott’s announcement was praised by Sec. Tommy Thompson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Bar-code initiatives, such as the one recently completed by Abbott, are exactly what the FDA’s proposed rule is designed to achieve.” —AO

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