Provincial Lab Identifies Error in Drugs of Abuse Screening – About 450 Patients Affected

(Last Updated On: December 6, 2017)

Ministry of Health – Released on December 5, 2017 – Risk to Patients Low

The Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (formerly Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory) has advised of an information technology error that resulted in incorrect lab test results being sent out. Samples for about 450 patients were affected. The samples were being screened for codeine and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) which, if used improperly, can be considered drugs of abuse. It is not believed that the error had any significant effect on patient care.


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The issue affected test results from October 30 to November 28. The error was promptly corrected, and updated lab reports have been sent to all physicians who ordered the tests so they can follow up with patients as necessary.

High quality service and patient care is our priority, and we’re committed to making sure this does not happen again,” Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory Executive Director Patrick O’Byrne said.

The Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory is the only laboratory in the province that provides comprehensive drugs of abuse screening. It receives more than 75,000 patient samples for drugs of abuse testing annually.

Drugs of abuse screening is a toxicology service the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory offers to the province. This testing helps physicians identify patients struggling with addictions and provides a means of diagnostic treatment and support to patients in recovery.

Codeine is used to treat mild to moderately severe pain. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine used to relieve symptoms of allergies, hay fever and the common cold.