Both Frequency and Total Cost of Pharmacy Errors May Be Under-Reported

Pharmacists are human, and humans make mistakes. Whether it be because the pharmacist has such a large work-load that individual patients get lost in the mix, or because the pharmacist has other things on their mind, serious and potentially fatal pharmacy errors are a reality that patients must face. While many of these errors can be caught by the patient, a pharmacy technician, or even a nurse, there continue to be tens of thousands of reported pharmacy errors each year across the United States.

Yellow PillsHowever, according to a recent industry news article, it appears that the incidents of reported errors may be grossly underestimating the true number of mistakes made by pharmacists each year. The article notes that figures from 2013 indicate that there were between 210,000 and 440,000 pharmacy errors committed across the United States. This figure was up from an estimated 110,000 errors in 1999.

What is more shocking than the number of reported errors is the number of errors that go unreported. According to the article, the true number of pharmacy errors may be as high as 100 times the reported numbers. This is because of several key factors, including:

  • The time it takes to report an error,
  • The cumbersome forms that are needed to properly report the error,
  • A hesitancy to tell another person about an error, and
  • The perceived severity of the error.

Researchers reviewing these numbers suggest several steps that can be taken to help limit the effect these factors have on reporting. First, simplifying the process of reporting an error will likely result in more technicians reporting when they make a mistake. Second, increasing the lines of communication between technicians and pharmacy management may help elucidate the expectations of individual employees. Finally, increasing education about how reporting helps the pharmacy industry and why reporting is an important aspect of the business will help persuade technicians on the fence about whether or not to report an error.

Recovering after a Pharmacy Error

Pharmacy errors can be extremely serious, leaving affected patients with new illnesses, lingering side effects, and grave concerns about the future of their health. Pharmacists may be liable for any injury resulting from an error committed on their watch. This may include amounts for actual damages, including past and future medical bills, as well as compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. To learn more, contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

Have You Been the Victim of a Pharmacist’s Mistake?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a pharmacist’s mistake, 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 experience representing clients in all kinds of personal injury cases, including those arising from pharmacy errors. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case in more detail.

More Blog Posts:

Pharmacists Among Top Professions Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, June 22, 2016.

Major Pharmacy Chain Must Pay $3.5 Million after Allegations of Forged Prescriptions, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, July 8, 2016.

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