Most Common Pharmacy Error of 2016 Was a Pharmacist’s Dispensing of the Incorrect Drug

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has released a report that discusses the most common pharmacy errors of 2016 and strategies to prevent these errors from harming patients in the future. The ISMP is an industry trade association containing pharmaceutical companies, doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals that regularly conducts observations and releases data related to prescription errors and the dangers these errors present to patients. According to the report, the most common type of pharmacy error committed in 2016 was dispensing the wrong medication to a patient, although other dangerous errors, including dosage and patient mix-ups, also ranked high on the list.

The Classes of Drugs Most Affected by Medication Errors

The ISMP study concluded that certain classes of drugs are more commonly associated with medication errors than others. According to a recent report discussing the results of the study, medication errors are most commonly associated with opioid narcotics, antibiotics, antipsychotics, and insulins.

More errors are committed in dispensing the correct dosage of opioid narcotic medicines than any other type of medicine. This is in large part due to the significant variance in tolerance and dosage from patient to patient. For example, a dose that is appropriate for one patient could cause an overdose in another, and pharmacists must ensure that they have the correct prescription information when filling these prescriptions. If something looks wrong, the pharmacist should contact the patient’s doctor directly rather than fill the prescription and provide it to the patient.

The Most Harmful Errors Come from Prescription Insulin

According to the report, errors made in the dispensing of insulin prescriptions were the most likely to cause harm to patients, with one in three such errors causing patient harm. This is compared to fewer than one in 10 patients suffering harm from other errors. Dispensing insulin can present special challenges to pharmacies and pharmacists who are not experienced in the specialized measuring and dispensing technologies that are used. To minimize the risk of future harms, the ISMP made recommendations for hospitals and nursing departments to stop using certain equipment that has caused confusion and errors in the past.

Pharmacists Are Ultimately Responsible for What They Dispense

The recently published results ultimately show that 2016 was not an abnormal year for medication errors and pharmacy mistakes. The details included in the study can help doctors and pharmacists try to prevent harmful mistakes in the future, but the fact remains that medical professionals have a legal duty to provide adequate care to patients, including dispensing medications in a safe manner. If a pharmacist or another medical professional is responsible for a mistake that causes a patient to be hurt or killed, the patient and their family may be entitled to financial damages.

Are You a Victim of a Pharmacy Error or Prescription Mistake?

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a medication error and have suffered an illness or injury as a result, the Maryland medical malpractice and pharmacy error attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers can help you make your claim for relief. Our skilled Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys know how to handle all types of pharmacy error claims, including those arising from routine errors. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent clients in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire Washington, D.C. area. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Grandmother’s Death Resulting from Pharmacist’s Error Highlights Dangers of Overworked Pharmacists, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2016.

New Study Shows that Many Pharmacies Fail to Detect Clearly Dangerous Drug Combinations When Filling Prescriptions, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, January 2, 2017.

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