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Executive Summary

WINTHROP-BREON DISTRIBUTING 42,000 POSTERS, "TALK ABOUT PRESCRIPTIONS," to MDs as part of the National Council on Patient Information & Education's (NCPIE) public education campaign on medication awareness. The posters and other campaign materials urge patients and health care professionals to discuss five basic topics: (1) the name and purpose of the drug treatment; (2) dosing regimen; (3) taking the medication with foods, drinks and other medications; (4) side effects; and (5) sources of written information about the drug. NCPIE is pushing the "Talk About Prescriptions" campaign throughout the month of October. The council kicked off the event with a press conference in Washington on Oct. 2. NCPIE Chairman Paul Rogers told the press conference that the objectives of the campaign are "to stimulate nationwide awareness of the need for improved communication about prescription medicines; and to promote individual, organizational and community action that motivates health professionals to give -- and consumers to seek -- the information needed for safe and effective drug use." HHS Asst. Secty. Robert Windom described the problem of misuse or underused drugs as large scale. He maintained: "Half of all prescribed medicines are taken incorrectly. That would be about 800 mil. prescriptions out of 1.6 bil. that are written a year in this country." Adverse effects from misuse are in two main categories -- one such as in death from the overdose of aspirin and the other complications or death from overdose or underdose of cardiovascular drugs, those used for arrythmia and hypertension. NCPIE is sending posters, brochures, planning kits, wallet cards and buttons, which provide steps to improving information on medicines, to health associations, hospitals and consumers. At the kick-off press conference, NCPIE Chairman Rogers noted that the posters urging patient-doctor communication are also being sent by the American Hospital Association to 4,000 hospitals. USP is providing buttons to the nation's 57,000 pharmacies. Citicorp is enclosing program material in a special message to 900,000 Choice credit card holders.

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