How Pharmacists Can Help Prevent Errors Involving High-Risk Medications

It is estimated that pharmacy errors are responsible for between two to five percent of global hospital admissions. While determining the exact number of Maryland pharmacy error victims is difficult to determine due to the lax reporting requirements, experts believe that at least seven million people fall victim to medical errors each year. What’s more, the same experts believe that nearly a third of these errors are entirely preventable.

Of course, not all pharmacy errors result in patient harm. Most often, pharmacy errors that do result in harm to the patient involve at least one high-risk medication. However, the term “high-risk medication,” is somewhat controversial in that it implies that less attention needs to be paid to anything that is not a high-risk medication. Nonetheless, the term is commonly used to refer to medicines that are frequently involved in errors or present heightened risks of harm.

An industry news source recently published an article discussing what pharmacists can do to reduce the frequency of pharmacy errors. The article identifies several risk areas where pharmacists should pay extra attention.

Home Health Care Challenges

The total number of patients who receive home health care is approximately 3.4 million. It is estimated that about one-third of these patients are taking medication that is inappropriate for their age or presents a potential medication-related problem. Part of the reason for this is the lack of oversight at a patient’s home and the fact that many of these patients take over-the-counter medication (OTC) that is not reflected on their chart. Thus, home healthcare aides should be sure to discuss their patient’s medications – both prescription and OTC – with primary care providers.

Cancer Patient Challenges

Another area of concern for pharmacists is oncology patients, due to the number of medications many of these patients take. While the chance of experiencing a medication error for a patient who takes two medications is just 13%, that number jumps to 83% if the patient is taking 7 prescriptions. Another reason for this is that oncology drugs are typically high-risk, and can impact a patient’s medication comprehension.

Regardless of the patient’s underlying illnesses, pharmacists have an obligation to deliver the patient’s prescription accurately. When a pharmacist makes an error, and a patient suffers as a result, the patient may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the pharmacist for any injuries they sustained.

Have You Been the Victim of a Maryland Pharmacy Error?

If you recently suffered after being the victim of a Maryland pharmacy error, contact the dedicated injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent injury victims and their family members in all types of personal injury claims, including medical errors. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact us online. Calling is free, and there is no risk in meeting with our attorneys because we will not bill you for our representation unless we are able to recover compensation for your injuries.

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