Prescription drug side effects and drug interactions may be minor and unnoticeable, though some drug effects can be severe, and even fatal. Doctors and pharmacists are responsible for the drugs they prescribe and dispense, and harmful side effects and drug interactions should be considered when giving a drug to a certain patient. Because some drugs are more prone to causing serious side effects and harmful interactions, a nonprofit organization known as the Institute for Safe Medical Practices (ISMP) has been compiling a database of the medications that carry an increased risk of resulting in patient harm when they are used or prescribed incorrectly. This database is part of the ISMP’s division known as the National Medication Errors Reporting Program (MERP). An article recently published by a pharmaceutical trade industry journal discusses some recent revisions that have been made to the ISMP database.
According to the recently published article, the medications in the database are not necessarily more likely to cause side effects or drug interactions, but the effects and interactions that do occur with the listed medications are more likely to be serious and result in patient harm. The article notes that the use of the MERP medication database is only a small part of an effective risk reduction strategy that should be employed by pharmacies to protect their patients. Medication errors will probably never be completely eliminated, and because of that, it is especially important for pharmacies and their employees to utilize a multi-faceted approach to preventing and catching medication errors.
What Is the Most Common Cause of Prescription Errors?
Human error is the most common cause of harmful medication mistakes. Because pharmacists and their employees are often overworked and understaffed, it is not prudent to place all of the responsibility for catching an error with a single person. The great advances in machine learning algorithms and automation technology have enabled pharmacies to automatically catch many errors that may have gone unnoticed before. Even with the technological advances, the ISMP recommendations are not always eagerly followed by pharmacies. Corporate greed, cost-cutting measures, and stubborn decision-makers who are resistant to change can all prevent improvements in the industry. When pharmacies refuse to listen to sound advice like that given by the ISMP, patients can be put at risk. Because of this, patients are still in danger of serious harm from medication errors anytime they visit a pharmacy.
Have You Been Injured as a Result of a Pharmacist’s Error or Mistake?
If you or a loved one has any questions about a possible Maryland or Virginia pharmacy error claim, discussing your case with the right attorney can help shed light on the issues you’re facing. The Maryland, DC, and Virginia pharmacy error attorneys with Lebowitz & Mzhen have collected significant compensation on behalf of our pharmacy error clients, and we’re here to help you as well. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your possible case. Contact us at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers today.