Overworked Pharmacists Lead to Unsafe Conditions and Millions of Annual Medication Mistakes

According to recent reporting by the Los Angeles Times, millions of medication errors occur each year, often at chain pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens, where a pharmacist may fill hundreds of prescriptions during a shift while juggling other tasks such as giving vaccinations, calling doctors’ offices to confirm prescriptions and working the drive-through. In a recent survey of California licensed pharmacists in 2021, 91% of pharmacists working at chain pharmacies stated that staffing was insufficient to provide adequate care to patients. The state’s Board of Pharmacy, a regulatory board, requires pharmacies to document and track errors internally and inform patients about mistakes under some circumstances, only 62% of pharmacists working in chains stated that stores were following those rules according to the 2021 survey.

The article highlights how medication errors can result in dramatic health issues. One documented error resulted in the improper dose of a hormonal treatment for breast cancer being delivered. Another case resulted in a pregnant patient suffering a fall after she was given two drugs prescribed to another customer. One patient took prednisone, a powerful steroid, for 89 days after a Walgreens pharmacist confused the drug with Prilosec, the heartburn drug that had actually been prescribed. A pharmacist at CVS gave a patient another customer’s prescription for 50-milligram tablets of Zoloft, the antidepressant, according to a February citation. The person took the wrong drug for at least seven months, refilling the prescription three times.

How Common Are Medication Errors?

According to reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives approximately 100,000 medication error reports annually. In 2010, the FDA received only 16,689, but by 2018, the agency was receiving more than 100,000 reports per year. Experts point out that medication error reports are submitted on a voluntary basis, meaning that true medication errors are likely even higher.

Dr. Randall Tackett, a clinical and administrative pharmacy professor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy states “What’s reported to the FDA usually only accounts for 1 to 10 percent of what actually occurs.” Dr. Tackett went on to theorize that most medication errors result from the extreme workload that pharmacists are faced with. In an effort to combat this issue, some states have implemented prescription shift limits for pharmacists, limiting them to filling 150 prescriptions per shift. A recent news report describes a pharmacy error.

Do You Need a Maryland Pharmacy Error Attorney?

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a pharmacy error or medication error in the Prince George’s, Baltimore, Charles, or Montgomery County region, let the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen help you recover the damages you deserve. Expenses and injuries from pharmacy errors can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced team of lawyers by your side can make all the difference. Our attorneys have successfully represented injury victims at every stage of the process, ensuring that they obtain the proper damages. With our team, you can have faith that your claim is being pursued properly. If you have questions about your case, call us today at 800-654-1949 and schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a Maryland injury lawyer at our office.

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