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.