All of us at some point must visit the pharmacy to pick up a prescription medication. We trust that our medications and prescriptions will be dispensed with care, but sometimes pharmacy staff is overwhelmed, undertrained, or careless, causing prescription errors. In fact, pharmacy errors are more common than most people realize. One study found that approximately 1.7% of all prescriptions result in some kind of error. Considering that there are roughly 40 billion prescriptions filled each year, that means that there are likely more than 40 million prescription errors each year across the country. While some errors are minor and some are discovered by savvy patients, other errors are more significant and cause injury or death. Indeed, studies estimate that approximately 1.5 million people are harmed by medication dispensing errors each year.
A study, titled “2013 Pharmacist Liability: A Ten-Year Analysis,” examined data from a pharmacy underwriter group’s closed claims, finding that over 75% of the claims arose from patients receiving either the wrong drug or the wrong dose. In resulting injuries reported in the closed claims overdose occurred 13.6% of the time and death, 11.7%.
Some of the more common pharmacy errors include:
Dispensing incorrect medication
Dispensing an incorrect dosage
Miscommunication between pharmacists and physicians
Failure to prevent or protect against harmful drug interactions
Failure to identify drug allergies in a patient
Prescription drug errors can be caused by mistakes during the transcription or dispensing process. Some of the most common reasons behind these errors are:
Mistakes in transcription
Lack of consistent terminology
Same or similar abbreviations and medication names
Different formulations of brand versus generic medications
How can you avoid being harmed by medication errors?
When your doctor writes a prescription for you, make sure you can read it.
When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if this is the medicine that your doctor prescribed.
Open the bag containing your medication container, and make sure the medicine matches your prescription and your name is on the container.
Make sure you understand how to properly take the medication. Ask your pharmacist about how much medication to take, and when and whether you should expect to experience any side effects.
If you or a loved one has recently been provided the wrong medication by a pharmacist, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. To learn more about pharmacy error cases, and to speak to a dedicated attorney about your case, call Milles Law toll free at (855) 553-3310. Scheduling an appointment is free, and you won’t be expected to pay for our services unless we are able to make a recovery in your case. Milles Law. Your Rights. Your Lawyer.