Patients seeking medical care have certain standards and expectations for what they will receive when getting treatment. When those standards are not met, the consequences can be dire. For patients whose lives are on the line, one small mistake from a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can have an enormous impact.
Recently, a woman picked up what she thought was cancer medication from her local pharmacy. She took the prescribed pills for two months before realizing that she had actually received anti-cholesterol medication from the pharmacy instead of the medicine she intended to be taking. The woman’s doctor had prescribed her a drug called exemestane, but the pharmacist had failed to check the medication bottle and had given her something called ezetimibe instead.
Apparently, the pharmacists providing the medication failed to properly dispense the prescription. The pharmacy was supposed to have a three-step process for ensuring that each patient’s medicine was what they were expecting to receive: a check when the medicine was selected from the shelf, a second check when the dispensing label was put on the container, and a third check when the prescription was given to the patient.