Pharmacists Try New Approach to Reduce Medication Errors, Focusing on Increased Communication

Pharmacy errors are more common than most people realize, with approximately 7,000 deaths each year being attributed to medication errors. Many of these medication errors occur at retail and hospital pharmacies, where busy pharmacists scramble to fill thousands of prescriptions each day. Even a good-hearted and well-intentioned pharmacist can get overwhelmed by the workload and make a seemingly small mistake that can have enormous consequences for the patient.

Pills in HandSeveral pharmacies in Vermont are trying to do things a little differently in hopes of decreasing pharmacy errors. According to a recent NPR article, at least two pharmacies in this state are putting together daily packets of medication for their patients so that the patient does not need to open the pill bottles, which may number in the dozens, and keep track of the medication themselves. The packets are prepared 30 days in advance so that a patient can get all their prescriptions for the month in one trip to the pharmacy. The patients who receive this service are mostly elderly and take between 15 and 20 pills per day.

Of course, this system does give rise to concerns about accuracy. One pharmacist explained that a patient he was caring for recently went into the hospital and was taken off a certain cardiac medication. However, the pharmacy was not notified and ended up providing the patient with the pill, even though the provider had stopped prescribing the medication. The pharmacist, seeing this as a big problem with the system, also addresses this concern. Through increased communication with their patients’ medical care providers, pharmacists try and keep up to date with patients’ prescriptions so that a patient’s daily packets do not result in non-prescribed medication being provided to the patient.

The new system also creates additional work for already busy professionals. And with an increase in workload comes the very real possibility that a mistake can be made. In the event that a pharmacist provides a patient with the wrong medication, and the patient is injured as a result, the patient may be able to seek monetary compensation for any injuries they sustained as a result of taking the medication. These lawsuits can be extremely complex, however, and they should be brought by a dedicated team of attorneys who are well versed in pharmaceutical laws and regulations.

Have You Been the Victim of a Medication Error in Maryland or Washington, D.C.?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a pharmacist’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Maryland and Washington, D.C. law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of combined experience bringing cases on behalf of clients injured by dangerous medications. To learn more about this area of the law, and to speak with an attorney about the merits of your case, call 410-654-3600 today.

More Blog Posts:

Pharmacy Errors Due to Incorrect Packaging of Prescription Drugs, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, April 8, 2016.

600,000 Bottles of ADHD Medication Recalled for “Impurity”, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, April 22, 2016.

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