While many pharmacy errors are the result of an overworked or distracted pharmacist who provides the patient with the incorrect drug, there are a certain number of errors made each year due to prescription drugs being mis-labeled or mis-packaged by the drug’s manufacturer. In these cases, it is likely that the pharmacist on duty double-checked the prescription and provided the patient what he or she thought to be the correct medication, but due to a mistake that occurred before the pharmacist ever had control of the medication, the patient was provided with the wrong medication.
Of course, drug manufacturers have a duty to properly package their products, as well as to include all relevant and necessary warnings on the packaging. When a drug leaves the manufacturer’s control with incorrect labeling, there is often little other parties can do to catch and fix the error. There are some circumstances, however, in which such an error will not likely excuse the pharmacist, and these are when the pharmacist has the occasion to see the unpackaged medication or is otherwise made aware of the error.
Not all packaging errors result in the patient being provided the wrong medication entirely. In fact, according to one recent news report, mis-packaged birth control medication resulted in over 100 unplanned pregnancies. According to one news source reporting on the 2011 recall, the order of the pills was reversed in the packaging. This resulted in a much higher chance of pregnancy.