Prescription errors are a prevalent problem in the United States that too often leads to serious injuries and deaths. A USA Today investigation reports that corporate policies—particularly with the larger pharmacy chains, such as CVS and Walgreens—can lead to unnecessary pharmacy mistakes:
•Too many prescriptions, too few pharmacists. Long shifts and minimal breaks can lead to carelessness, fatigue, and inattention when filling prescriptions.
• A reliance on technicians. Technicians lack the training and experience of qualified pharmacists have and are more prone to unknowingly make mistakes.
• An emphasis on speed. Providing speedy customer service can sometimes take priority over carefully filling a prescription.
• Pharmacist incentive awards. Companies such as CVS and Walgreens provide rewards based on prescription volume.
• Counseling gaps. The occasional failure to provide in-person counseling and direction to customers picking up new prescriptions.
In 2003, an Auburn University pharmacy study estimated that the chances of a person experiencing a serious prescription-related error was 1 in 1000. This can add up to a possible 3.7million pharmacy errors annually.
Common Pharmacy Errors Include:
• Filling the right prescription with the wrong medication.
• Filing the prescription correctly but giving it to the wrong customer.
• Not making sure that the customer understands the instructions for how to take the medication.
• Misreading the doctor’s prescription and filling the prescription incorrectly.
Pharmacy errors and prescription misfills can be grounds for personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits if a patient is injured, becomes ill, or dies as a result. In Maryland and Washington D.C., our personal injury attorneyshave successfully handled injury and wrongful death cases caused by pharmacy mistakes. We would be happy to offer you a free consultation to discuss your case.
Speed, high volume can trigger mistakes, USA Today.com, February 11, 2008
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