New Study Shows that Many Pharmacies Fail to Detect Clearly Dangerous Drug Combinations When Filling Prescriptions

A recently published news report details an extensive study that was performed by the Chicago Tribune last year to evaluate and compare pharmacies’ ability to detect dangerous drug combinations being prescribed to the same patient and filled at the same time. The study involved researchers visiting over 250 Chicago-area pharmacies and filling five various prescriptions, including one “dangerous combination” of drugs. The researchers intentionally chose combinations of drugs that could cause a serious illness or death if taken together and that should not have been dispensed together.

Random PillsOver Half of Pharmacies Missed the Deadly Combinations

Considering their decision to undertake such a large study, the researchers probably expected that a significant number of pharmacies would overlook the dangerous interactions and dispense the selected combinations to the undercover patient.  However, the final results were stunning. Over half of the prescriptions containing deadly combinations with instructions for concurrent use were filled by the pharmacist with no discussion or objection.

There are measures in place and mandatory safety checks to prevent these dangerous drugs from being dispensed together, but the pressure to perform quickly discourages pharmacists from taking important safety measures.

The Best and Worst Pharmacies in the Study

According to the final results, 63% of CVS Pharmacy locations failed to warn researchers of the dangerous combinations. Furthermore, 62% of Target pharmacies missed the clues, and 60% of Kmart and Costco pharmacies overlooked what should have been clear red flags. In addition, 43% of Walmart’s pharmacists and 30% of Walgreens locations filled the prescriptions without warning. Independent non-chain pharmacies were the worst offenders, dispensing the possibly deadly combinations of drugs 72% of the time.

In Response to the Study, Pharmacies Promise Changes

Before publishing the study, researchers notified the pharmacies of the results and gave them an opportunity to make a statement to the public to address their general failure to detect dangerous drug combinations. CVS pharmacies, the worst of the chains that were tested, released a statement promising to improve pharmacist training and implement new detection measures to prevent dangerous combinations from being prescribed. In total, the three largest chains to respond, Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens, promised to improve over 22,000 pharmacies and increase the training of over 110,000 pharmacists.

Compensation for a Pharmacist’s Mistake

If training and quality control is improved drastically throughout the country in the next year, the number of pharmacy errors could decrease immensely. However, even with perfect training and control measures, pharmacy and medical mistakes will still continue to happen as long as human beings are involved in the process. If a pharmacist or other medical professional makes a mistake because they weren’t paying attention or wanted to process prescriptions quickly, the pharmacist and pharmacy should be held accountable for the mistake. Pharmacies are partially responsible for encouraging a culture that rewards expediency and discourages double-checking to ensure high profits. Victims of pharmacy errors can seek compensation through a Maryland pharmacy error claim.

Contacting an Attorney after a Pharmacy Error

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a pharmacy mistake or another act of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your injuries. The Maryland pharmacy error and medical malpractice attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC understand what you and your family are going through, and we are not afraid to fight our hardest for the reward that you and your family deserve.  Call toll-free at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent clients in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire Washington, D.C. area.

More Blog Posts:

Grandmother’s Death Resulting from Pharmacist’s Error Highlights Dangers of Overworked Pharmacists, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2016.

Victims of Dangerous Pharmacy Mistakes Shouldn’t Feel Guilty about Filing a Claim, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2016.

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