At some point in our lives, we all need to take medicines to prevent or treat illness. But medicines can cause serious harm if not prescribed correctly, taken appropriately or monitored sufficiently.

The human and financial costs of getting prescribing wrong are significant.

The World Health Organization estimates the annual cost of medication errors to be over 42 billion USD, affecting every health system around the world.

For example, in the UK, the costs are estimated to be close to £100 million and 1,700 lives lost each year. At the British Pharmacological Society, we believe that by improving the knowledge and capabilities of prescribers, we can make a significant contribution to reducing the risks and improving patient safety.

As both modern medicine and patients’ needs become more complex, so do the prescribing decisions facing healthcare professionals. Comorbidities within an aging population, complex dosage calculations, the growth in antimicrobial resistance and the challenges associated with prescribing potentially harmful or addictive drugs such as opioids all contribute to a significant risk to patient safety and quality of care. We need to support our prescribers to identify their knowledge gaps and provide a rich learning environment in which to develop the skills and capabilities.

Prescribing education holds the key

BPS Assessment is the assessment and learning business of the British Pharmacological Society. We help healthcare providers and medical, nursing and pharmacy schools by supporting the teaching of good prescribing practice and the assessment of prescribing knowledge.

Across the UK and now in the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we are supporting key stakeholders with the tools, support and process design they need to improve the quality and safety of care in their country.

Talk to us about how we might support you in driving prescribing improvements.


Read the latest news, views and insights from the BPSA team and our customers, partners and other stakeholders.


We've put together some highly regarded and insightful content, that helps frame the global issues around medication and specifically prescribing errors.


Links to the very latest relevant clinical pharmacology research from the British Pharmacological Society's journals.

Keep in touch

To receive alerts, updates and the latest research, or to find out more about how BPS Assessment Ltd can support safer prescribing, share your details