Pharmacy Policies Can Lead to Prescription Errors, Injuries, and Wrongful Deaths

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, February 11, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Don’t be a victim of pharmacy errors,, October 30, 2007
Strategies to Reduce Medication Errors,

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