California Legislature Passes First-in-Nation Pharmacy Safety Bill

According to reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives approximately 100,000 medication error reports annually. In 2010, the FDA received only 16,689, but by 2018, the agency was receiving more than 100,000 reports per year. Experts point out that medication error reports are submitted on a voluntary basis, meaning that true medication errors are likely even higher.

Dr. Randall Tackett, a clinical and administrative pharmacy professor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy states “What’s reported to the FDA usually only accounts for 1 to 10 percent of what actually occurs.” Dr. Tackett went on to theorize that most medication errors result from the extreme workload that pharmacists are faced with. In an effort to combat this issue, some states have implemented prescription shift limits for pharmacists, limiting them to filling 150 prescriptions per shift. A recent news report describes a first-in-nation pharmacy safety bill recently passed by the California legislature.

What is the California Pharmacy Act?

California state lawmakers recently passed Assembly Bill 1286 or the Stop Dangerous Pharmacies Act after months of negotiations with chain pharmacies, labor groups, and regulators. The measure will now be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk to be signed. The bill is the first state-level regulation in the nation to crack down on understaffed chain pharmacies making medication errors, setting up California to be a national leader in pharmacy safety if it is passed. The proposed law requires corporate chain pharmacies to report all medication errors as well as provide baseline pharmacy staffing rules to ensure that California pharmacists are receiving the support they need as they fill prescriptions, and give injections.

The bill also gives licensed pharmacy staff more autonomy over staffing and working conditions so they can provide better patient care and services for Californians. Additionally, AB 1286 provides pathways for the unusual circumstance of a temporary pharmacy closure in the rare and dangerous circumstance where a pharmacist feels the work environment has been compromised, is life-threatening to patients, and that store management has not worked to abate the issue.

California pharmacies are reportedly making almost 5 million medication errors a year, but the state Board of Pharmacy can only estimate that number because currently, pharmacies are not required to report medication errors. Over 83 percent of California pharmacists reported that they did not have sufficient time to provide appropriate consultations to patients to make sure they understand how to safely take their medications.

Do You Need a Maryland Pharmacy Error Attorney?

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a pharmacy or medication error in the Prince George’s, Baltimore, Charles, or Montgomery County region, let the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen help you recover the damages you deserve. Expenses and injuries from pharmacy errors can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced team of lawyers by your side can make all the difference. Our attorneys have successfully represented injury victims at every stage of the process, ensuring that they obtain the proper damages. With our team, you can have faith that your claim is being pursued properly. If you have questions about your case, call us today at 800-654-1949 and schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a Maryland injury lawyer at our office.

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