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Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance is provided to healthcare professionals to prevent prescribing and dispensing errors in relation to immunosuppressant therapies; (241501)

(2) how many (a) prescribing and (b) dispensing errors of immunosuppressant therapies have been recorded in each of the last five years; if he will place in the Library a copy of the records; and if he will make a statement.

There were 1,015 patient safety incidents relating to prescription, preparation and administration of immunosuppressant medication were submitted to the National Patient Safety Agency's (NPSA) Reporting and Learning System (RLS) between November 2003 and the beginning of December 2008. The search of RLS was structured to include a number of named immunosuppressant medicines.

There were 786 of the incidents submitted and were reported to have resulted in no harm, 180 in low harm, 48 in moderate harm and one in severe harm. The following table provides a breakdown of the reported category of error:

Category of error

Number of reported errors



Preparation of medicines in all locations/dispensing in a pharmacy


Administration/supply of a medicine from a clinical area




Note: The following immunosuppressant medicines were included within the incident report: Advagraf, Alemtuzumab, Azathiaprine, Basiliximab, Cellcept, Ciclosporin, Daclizumab, Imuran, Mabcampath, Mabthera, Mycophenolate, Myfortic, Neoral, Prograf, Rapamune, Rituximab, Sandimmun, Simulect, Sirolimus, Tacrolimus, Zenapax.