Asthma UK has launched a new report that highlights the scale of unsafe prescribing putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack.
Last year’s National Review of Asthma Deaths highlighted prescribing errors in nearly half of asthma deaths in primary care (47%). Asthma UK has subsequently analysed data from over 500 UK GP practices which shows these prescribing errors were just the tip of the iceberg.
The analysis reveals there is evidence that over 22,000 people with asthma in the UK, including 2,000 children, have been prescribed medicines (long-acting reliever inhalers) in a way that is so unsafe they have a ‘black box warning’ in the USA due to the risk they pose to the lives of people with asthma.
In addition, the report indicates that almost 100,000 people with asthma have been prescribed too many short-acting reliever inhalers (more than 12 in a year) without national clinical guidelines being followed, leaving them at risk of life threatening asthma attacks.
Complacency in asthma care must end and more must be done to improve patient safety for the 1 in 11 people with asthma in the UK.
I have written to the Secretary of State for Health to raise this matter directly with him, as it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.