New Study Finds that Two-Thirds of Pharmacists Miss at Least 20% of Dispensing Errors

According to a study that was recently conducted in the United Kingdom, pharmacists miss errors in prescriptions in a frightening number of cases. According to a report by the Pharmaceutical Journal, the study results were unveiled at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference earlier this month.

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The study took 103 local pharmacists and had them fill 50 prescriptions in 25 minutes, which is generally considered a normal, if slightly heavy, workload for that amount of time. Five of the 50 prescriptions intentionally contained errors. There were also a few distractions that were thrown at the pharmacists while they were filling the test prescriptions, but nothing out of the ordinary for the profession.

The idea of the study was to see how many of the pharmacists would catch all five of the errors. The results were frightening. Below is a summary of the results:

  • 35% of the pharmacists caught all five errors;
  • About half of the pharmacists missed one error;
  • 14% missed two of the errors; and
  • About 3% of the pharmacists found only one or two of the errors.

While no pharmacist missed all five errors, the results were not exactly confidence-inspiring, to say the least.

Not all of the errors would have resulted in actual harm to a patient. However, there was one hidden error that decreased the frequency of a medication that was supposed to be taken every four hours to four times a day.

Prescription Errors in the United States

Currently, there are about four billion prescriptions that are filled each year in the United States. With that kind of volume, some errors can be expected. However, the actual number of injurious pharmacy errors in the United States is astounding.

Roughly 7,000 people lose their lives each year due to some kind of medication error. In addition to that number, tens of thousands of others are seriously injured as a result of pharmacy errors.

It is the duty of the lead pharmacist to ensure that all prescriptions going out of his or her pharmacy are accurate. When this is not the case, that pharmacist, as well as the pharmacy that employs him or her, may be held liable for any injuries that are sustained as a result of the pharmacist’s error.

Have You Been Injured by a Pharmacist’s Mistake?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured by some kind of medication error, whether it occurred in a pharmacy or at a hospital, you may be entitled to monetary damages to help compensate you for your injuries. To learn more about how victims of pharmacy error cases can recover for their damages, and to speak to a dedicated attorney who is skilled in these kinds of cases, contact the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. The dedicated attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen have years of experience litigating all kinds of medical malpractice and pharmacy error cases and would be happy to speak to you about your potential case. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free initial consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

New Zealand Man Dies Due to Pharmacist’s Error, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 3, 2014.

Confusing Drug Names May Lead to More Prescription Drug Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, August 20, 2014.

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