BD aspires to improve medication safety in Canada

BD seeks to ensure that every Canadian patient is protected from preventable medication harm, and that health care workers are empowered by strong system safeguards to assist with safe medication management.


The challenges

1 in 18 hospital  stays in Canada is associated with patient harm. It is estimated that medication events contribute up to 37% of this harm1.

Current practices for preparing, dispensing, and administering medications facilitate risks for errors to occur, especially for high-alert medications such as insulin, opioid, and oncology therapies2.

Medications have the potential to cause unintended harm to health care workers that are managing them3 4.

These practice gaps pose severe, life-threatening risks to all Canadian patients and health workers, and result in an increased cost burden to Canadian taxpayers and Health Ministries5.

The Risks

The medication use process is complex and prone to risks


Drug shortages continue to pose a significant burden to Canadian hospital pharmacies 6

Preparing and Dispensing

Certain chemotherapy preparation practices in Canada can lead to catastrophic adverse events for patients (11 latent errors) 7

Preparing and Dispensing

Canadian hospital workers are exposed to unsafe levels of hazardous drugs in hospital settings, which can lead to irreversible adverse effects such as cancer, organ damage, reproductive problems 3, 8

Preparing and Dispensing

Access to controlled substances poses the risk for developing substance abuse disorder among health care workers 12

Administering and Monitoring

Canadian patients are prone to vascular access complications such as occlusions and infections at the access points required for medication administration 9

Administering and Monitoring

The risk for experiencing a error (with consequences) during medication administration is 1.1% 10

Administering and Monitoring

0.5% of patients on PCA experience a severe opioid-induced respiratory depression event requiring intervention 11

  1. Procuring
  2. Preparing and Dispensing
  3. Preparing and Dispensing
  4. Preparing and Dispensing
  5. Administering and Monitoring
  6. Administering and Monitoring
  7. Administering and Monitoring

Our Commitment




Prescribing and Transcribing


Preparing and Dispensing


Administering and Monitoring

BD is committed to working with governments, their partners and our customers to help protect patients and practitioners through education, advocacy, and the implementation of solutions.



Empowering the public, health care practitioners, and system-level decision makers to understand and address the root causes of medication safety issues.



Collaborating with health system partners to advocate for the development of guidelines, regulations and policies that address vulnerabilities in a sustainable, long-term way.



Implementing evidence-based, system-level solutions to remove the opportunity for medication safety risks to occur.


BD is your partner in addressing medication safety

According to experts at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Canada, system-based error prevention strategies that employ automation and computerization, as well as forcing functions and constraints, are the most likely to create lasting changes for safe medication use 1.  BD – Canada partners with health care organizations to impact safe, evidence-based technologies and best practices.

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  1. Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canadian Patient Safety Institute. Measuring Patient Harm in Canadian Hospitals. With What can be done to improve patient safety? authored by Chan B, Cochrane D. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2016.
  2. Cohen, Michael R., et al. "High-alert medications: safeguarding against errors." Medication Errors. 2nd ed. Washington (DC): American Pharmaceutical Association (2007): 317-411.
  3. McDiarmid MA, Oliver MS, Roth TS, Rogers B, Escalante C. Chromosome 5 and 7 abnormalities in oncology personnel handling anticancer drugs. J Occup Environ Med. 2010;52(10):1028-1034.
  4. Trinkoff AM, Zhou Q, Storr CL, Soeken KL. Workplace access, negative prescriptions, job strain, and substance use in registered nurses. Nursing Research. 2000 Mar 1; 49(2):83-90.
  5. RiskAnalytica. The Case for Investing in Patient Safety in Canada. August 2017.
  6. Drug shortages homepage. Drug Shortages Homepage.
  7. Gilbert RE, Kozak MC, Dobish RB, Bourrier VC, Koke PM, Kukreti V, Logan HA, Easty AC, Trbovich PL. Intravenous Chemotherapy Compounding Errors in a Follow-Up Pan-Canadian Observational Study. Journal of oncology practice. 2018 Apr 20;14(5):e295303.
  8. Hon C-Y, Teschke K, Shen H, Demers PA, Venners S. Antineoplastic Drug Contamination in the Urine of Canadian Workers. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2015 Oct;88(7):933-41. PMID 25626912.
  9. Helm RE, Klausner JD, Klemperer JD, et al. Accepted but unacceptable: peripheral IV catheter failure. J Infus Nurs. 2015;38(3):189-203.
  10. D’Amour D, Dubois CA, Tchouaket É, Clarke S, Blais R. The occurrence of adverse events potentially attributable to nursing care in medical units: cross sectional record review. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2014 Jun 1;51(6):882-91.
  11. Gupta, K., Prasad, A., Nagappa, M., Wong, J., Abrahamyan, L., & Chung, F. F. (2018). Risk factors for opioid-induced respiratory depression and failure to rescue: a review. Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, 31(1), 110-119.
  12. Fan 2018. Identifying vulnerabilities in hospital medication processes that facilitate diversion in Canada. Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacy Professional Practice Conference – February 6 2018.
  13. 1.Ho C, Li QK. Preventing medication incidents. Accessed at: