It’s been almost a year since we brought you the story of the man who sued Walgreens for giving him Durasal wart remover instead of the Durezol eye drops his doctor had prescribed. Now the Food & Drug Administration has issued an alert to pharmacists and doctors to not make the same mistake.
The FDA says it only knows of the one incident involving serious injury (presumably the one involved in the lawsuit), but that “several other cases were reported arising from confusion between Durezol and Durasal… There were also complaints received from health care practitioners concerning the similarity between the names Durezol and Durasal.”
Given the similar names and the fact that doctors are not known for their legible handwriting, the agency is asking pharmacists to be vigilant when filling prescriptions, as putting Durasal’s salicylic acid in your eye could do some serious damage, and dabbing your wart with Durezol — an anti-inflammatory given to patients after eye surgery — is probably not going to help.
As for how two such similar sounding — but very different — drugs could be on the market:
The FDA, as part of the drug approval process, screens proprietary names for similarities to the names of other products currently on the market; however, Durasal (salicylic acid) is an unapproved product that did not undergo FDA’s drug approval process. The agency, therefore, was not able to evaluate Durasal for potential name confusion prior to the product being marketed. Additionally, Durasal (salicylic acid) entered the market shortly after FDA approved Durezol.
The FDA says it has written to Elorac, Inc., the distributor of Durasal about removing the confusing product from store shelves, but that no response has been forthcoming.
Hey FDA — here’s a notion. If they don’t reply to your letter, how about paying Elorac a visit? Maybe bring a muffin basket.