Causes and Effects of Pharmacy Errors

Picking up a prescription at the local pharmacy is something almost everyone has the occasion to do at some point in their life. In fact, many people pick up multiple prescriptions per month. Picking up a prescription that was provided or filled in error seems to many to be one of those situations that “couldn’t happen to me.” However, as a recent article points out, prescription errors are more common than most people think, and they can often have dire consequences if they are not caught immediately.

Common Causes of Prescription Errors

The causes of prescription errors are several, but certain causes appear again and again in studies. The volume of prescriptions that pharmacists and pharmacist technicians must fill on a daily basis results in a high-stress environment where little time is left to double-check one’s work.

A rushed pharmacist is likely working to fill several customers’ orders at a time and may cut corners to save time. However, that type of behavior can increase the risk of providing an incorrect medication to a patient, such as either of the following examples:

  • Putting one patient’s medication in a bag marked for another patient when dealing with multiple patients’ prescriptions; or
  • Grabbing the wrong bag and providing it to the patient without verifying the patient’s name, address, and date of birth.

In either case, a patient is given the wrong medication. To make matters more serious, government research shows that only about half of pharmacy patients check the label on the bag to make sure that the name on the prescription they pick up matches their own name. Once the medication makes it home with the patient, roughly only 75% of patients check the label on the medication to make sure that it contains what they were prescribed by their physician.

The Dangers of Prescription Errors

The dangers of medication errors are twofold. First, there is the potential that a patient will take a dangerous medication that is not prescribed to them. This can result in serious and irreversible harm. For example, if a pregnant woman takes certain medications, she may lose her chid.

The other harm of prescription errors is that a patient is not getting their prescribed medication. If a physician prescribes a medication to a patient, it is because that patient needs the medication. Sometimes a patient’s life can depend on getting the necessary medication on a daily or bi-daily basis.

Finally, when a pharmacist provides the wrong medication to a patient, there is the possibility that a patient’s confidential medical information is shared with a third party without their consent. Of course, this is less serious than the possibly life-threatening dangers listed above, but it is concerning nonetheless.

Have You Been the Victim of a Pharmacist’s Negligence?

If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for any injuries you sustained as a result of the mistake. To learn more about cases against pharmacists and the pharmacies that employ them, contact one of the dedicated prescription error attorneys at the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. The skilled advocates at Lebowitz & Mzhen have the dedication and experience necessary to successfully bring cases in any Maryland court of law. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Mother Catches Pharmacy Error Before Providing Medication to Her Five-Month-Old Son, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, July 29, 2015.

Hospitals Starting To Use New Technology to Decrease Prescription Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, July 8, 2015.

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