Risk of Pharmacy Errors Increases with Busier Pharmacist Workloads

US pharmacists filled 3.8 billion prescriptions in 2007. This increase in pharmacy prescriptions—up from 3.3 billion in 2002—means that pharmacists are busier than ever. According to pharmacy owner Paul Lofholm, his pharmacists can fill up to 100 prescriptions a shift.

According to SmartMoney, the busy workload is creating a number of downsides that can affect how well pharmacists do their jobs, which in turn can make them more prone to pharmacy errors. For instance:

1) Pharmacists are stressed out and working too much.
2) This makes them tired, which means they can’t always be 100% focused when doing their jobs.
3) They may have less time to provide counseling about each prescription.
4) They’re more likely to make mistakes. For example, in 2007, there were 433 complaints filed about prescription errors in California.

5) An increase in inventory may mean that pharmacists may not be fully informed about all of the medications that are now available. This can affect any counseling they can provide or prevent them from recognizing potentially dangerous side effects that can result.

Pharmacy errors can be grounds for Maryland personal injury claims or lawsuits if a customer gets injured, sick, or dies because the pharmacist filled the prescription with the wrong medication, neglected to advise the patient of adverse reactions and the patient got sick, or gave the wrong dosage of the right medication or the wrong medication to the a patient.

A 2007 CNN article recommended that patients take proactive steps to avoid becoming the victim of pharmacy mistakes, including:

• Try not to fill your prescription at the start of the month. Because Social Security checks come at the start of the month, more people come in to get their medications at this time. This means pharmacists are busier, which increases the chance of prescription mistakes.

• Open your prescription at the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist to double check that they gave you the correct medicine. If you think they made a mistake, voice your concerns.

10 Things Your Pharmacist Won’t Tell You, SmartMoney
Don’t be a victim of pharmacy errors, CNNHealth.com, October 30, 2007
Related Web Resource:
Inside a pharmacy where a fatal error occurred, USA Today, February 14, 2008

Contact our Maryland pharmacy error attorneys to discuss your case.

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