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Bennett to chair CoEE for medication safety

It may have killed Michael Jackson and Corey Haim. It nearly killed Dennis Quaid’s children. We take medication to get better, so how can it at times be dangerous? The state of South Carolina has recruited one of the nation’s top scientists to help make drugs safer.

A new endowed chair at the Medication Safety and Efficacy Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE) will work to improve drug safety in South Carolina and beyond.

Dr. Charles Bennett, an international expert in his field, has been recruited as the CoEE Endowed Chair in Medication Safety and Efficacy and the Frank P. and Josie M. Fletcher Professor of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina (USC) campus of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy.

Issues with medication safety harm at least 1.5 million people every year, and the medical costs of drug-related injuries occurring in hospitals alone conservatively amount to $3.5 billion a year, according to a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine.

The Medication Safety and Efficacy CoEE works to prevent adverse drug events and to improve drug safety. The center was created in 2005 by the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and USC in connection with the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. Scientists there study the effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications, particularly on children and the elderly. The CoEE also is focused on education and outreach to healthcare professionals and the public through the Doris Levkoff Meddin Medication Safety Education Program.

The non-state matching partners for the Medication Safety and Efficacy CoEE are Health Sciences South Carolina and the Frank P. and Josie M. Fletcher Endowment.

“I am extremely pleased to lead the CoEE for Medication Safety and Efficacy,” Bennett said. “The commitment to reducing health disparities in pharmaceuticals in South Carolina is tangible and will serve as a model for other states.” Health disparities are defined as gaps in the quality of healthcare that can occur across racial, ethnic or socioeconomic groups.

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