Earlier this month in New Zealand, a pharmacist was reprimanded by the governing professional board after it was discovered that he made an error in providing a patient with the wrong medication and then tried to cover up his mistake. According to one industry news source, the pharmacist accidentally provided an elderly patient with a chemotherapy drug rather than his prescribed immunosuppressant medication.
Evidently, the elderly patient had recently undergone a kidney transplant and was prescribed an immunosuppressant as a part of his recovery. However, when the man went to fill the prescription, he was provided a chemotherapy drug instead. It was not until three weeks later that the man returned, asking the pharmacist why his pills had changed, that the pharmacist discovered that there may have been an error. He told the patient to stop taking the drug.
Upon investigating the error, the filling pharmacist discovered that he was the one who had filled the prescription. Once he realized that he had made the error, the pharmacist failed to report the error. The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner, who oversees pharmacists, explained to reporters that the pharmacist should have provided the patient with counseling as well as reported the error. It was not until the pharmacy owner later discovered that the chemotherapy drug supply was depleted that management knew there had been an error. He then made the appropriate report.