Health ministers are proposing a “no-fault” error reporting system for the UK's high street pharmacies to encourage candour about prescription mistakes.
The Government hopes the new system will provide more accurate information about the number of mistakes being made. Currently, voluntary reporting by pharmacists shows 10,000 medication errors a year out of a billion prescriptions issued.
However, academic research suggests that 250,000 patients are given the wrong medicine every year, with a million more so-called "near misses".
President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Ash Soni is confident that the proposed law change will improve patient safety: "Pharmacists take the responsibility for the safe and correct supply of medicines to patients extremely seriously.
"Sadly, mistakes occasionally happen and, when they do, we must be open with patients and do everything we can to stop them happening again.
"The proposed changes will increase accountability through greater reporting of errors and improve patient safety by sharing the learning from errors across the profession."