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72 percent of Az pharmacy software failed drug test

Only 28 percent of Arizona pharmacies had clinical decision support software able to identify potentially dangerous drug-drug interactions, a UA College of Pharmacy study found.

The software is designed to alert pharmacists of possible dangerous drug-drug interactions. Out of the 64 selected pharmacies across Arizona only 18 pharmacies were able to correctly identify all of the significant drug-drug interactions, a press release said.

"These findings suggest that we have a fundamental problem with the way interactions are evaluated by drug knowledge databases," said UA professor of pharmacy and lead investigator of the study Daniel Malone in a press release.

There are about two dozen vendors that sell these programs and some tend to do a better job than others, Malone said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

This problem has been studied over 10 years and there are a number of things that are being done, but there is no simple solution to this complex problem, Malone said.

"We are actively working with the industry to create standards for these software systems," Malone said.

Probably the most important thing is to identify the patients that could be harmed by drug-drug interactions, Malone said.

"The weakness of these systems could lead to medication errors that might harm patients. The risk of harm from dangerous combinations can be reduced when patients create and maintain a medication list," Malone said in the release.

"It is disappointing that some don’t perform at a better level," Malone added.

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