Background: Medication errors could lead to various problems which include decreased therapeutic efficacy, added workload and financial burden, litigation problems and most importantly toxic effects in patients. Studies have revealed that people have more negative perceptions when medical mishaps lead to severe health concerns. Aim and Objectives: The aim of the study is to assess the perception, knowledge, and attitude of medication errors among the general population. The objectives are to examine the public knowledge and perceived reaction to medication errors. Moreover, to study the general public attitude towards medication errors and accordingly, to create an awareness about medication errors. Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional survey with a pretested questionnaire. Results: Among 500 respondents who participated in the study, 275 of them were female (55%) and 225 of them were male (45%). About 68.2% of the respondents had not heard of medication errors. Female respondents and young adults aged between 21-30 years had a better level of knowledge, perception, and attitude towards medication errors. Respondents above 61 years of age had the least level of knowledge about medication errors. A total of 66.6% of the respondents were under an impression that physicians were the only people who were contributing the maximum toward the incidence of medication errors. With regard to the action to be taken when medication error occurs, 54.2% of the respondents had the opinion for opting legal claim. People from Kerala had better level of knowledge and attitude whereas people from Tamil Nadu had a better perception of medication errors. Conclusion: This study reported that the general public agreed medication errors pose serious threat to people’s lives. Furthermore, majority of the respondents suggested that medication errors reporting system should be established in India. However, an educational intervention program and computer aided prescribing order entry can contribute to the lowering of such errors.
Key words: Medication errors, Knowledge, Attitude, Perception, General public, Causes of medication errors, Reporting of medication errors.