Malpractice Risks Faced by Prescribing Physicians Is Focus of Presentations

The Doctors Company Executives to Address Attendees at American College of Cardiology Conference on March 10

Napa, California—March 6, 2013—Adverse events related to inappropriate prescribing, misuse, and abuse of long-acting opioids have reached epidemic proportions, and medication-related adverse events are a growing cause of malpractice suits. This timely topic will be addressed on March 10 by two executives of The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest medical malpractice insurer, at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) ACC.13 conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

David B. Troxel, MD, medical director, and Robin Diamond, JD, RN, chief patient safety officer, will focus on medication-related malpractice risks faced by prescribing physicians when they address attendees from 2 PM to 3:30 PM.

In his presentation, “Medication-Related Adverse Events and REMS,” Dr. Troxel will present data from an analysis of 2,646 claims closed by The Doctors Company in 2011. He will discuss the percentage of claims resulting from medication-related errors, particularly those involving narcotic analgesics. Dr. Troxel also will outline steps the FDA is taking with its mandatory Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) program to advance prescriber understanding and safe use of pain medications.

“The incidence of medication-related errors in our 2011 claims was 5.8 percent, and long-acting narcotic analgesics accounted for 17.5 percent of the medications identified in these claims,” Dr. Troxel said. “We encourage all physicians who prescribe long-acting opioids to complete the REMS CME program for extended-release and long-acting opioid analgesics.”

Ms. Diamond will present “Tips to Avoid Lawsuits: Focus on Medication Safety.” She will present the results of an experts’ review of the underlying cause of 349 cardiology claims closed from 2007 to 2012 and will provide suggestions on how to promote patient safety and avoid claims.

“The experts’ review found communication issues were an underlying cause in 30 percent of claims,” Ms. Diamond noted. “Chances of a lawsuit decrease when there is clear communication between physician and patient about medication use and risk, when patients feel they are being listened to and are involved in care decisions, and when there is communication between health care providers during handoffs about the patient’s medications.”

About The Doctors Company
Founded by doctors for doctors in 1976, The Doctors Company ( is relentlessly committed to advancing, protecting, and rewarding the practice of good medicine. The Doctors Company is the nation’s largest medical malpractice insurer, with 73,000 members and $4 billion in assets, and is rated A by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings.

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