A recent news report details just how troublesome prescription errors by pharmacies can be, resulting in sanctions. In the state of Iowa, state regulators recently penalized a drugstore accused of destroying relevant paperwork after dispensing the incorrect medication to a customer. According to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, in 2020 the Walgreen store dispensed the incorrect strength of insulin pens and the incorrect test strips to a patient. During an investigation the Walgreens was unable to provide some of the original documentation related to the prescription. It was determined that the prescription records had been destroyed, which is in violation of Iowa regulations. As a result, the Board of Pharmacy issued a warning and imposed a $1,500 civil penalty, in addition to requiring the store to provide two hours of educational training on patient safety to all permanent pharmacists and technicians on staff. In addition to the one Walgreens being sanctioned, at least one other pharmacy in Iowa was sanctioned for dispensing a prescription with incorrect directions which led to a customer taking a higher dosage than was prescribed. In one case, a pharmacist’s license was placed on probation after a criminal conviction.
How Does Maryland Protect Pharmacy Patients?
Pharmacy boards are administrative agencies created by state governments “to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the regulation of pharmacy practice.” In large part, these entities are responsible for preventing pharmacy errors. State pharmacy boards have taken important steps to regulate and discipline pharmacies and drug laws. For example, in the state of Maryland, the Maryland Board of Pharmacy has a mission of “protect[ing] Maryland consumers and to promote quality healthcare in the field of pharmacy through licensing pharmacists and registering pharmacy technicians, issuing permits to pharmacies and distributors, setting pharmacy practice standards and through developing and enforcing regulations and legislation, resolving complaints, and educating the public.” Guidance by the Office of Inspector General in the United States Department of Health and Human Services outlines that state pharmacy boards should review the outcomes of their disciplinary process and evaluate whether they are affording the public the maximum protection.
While state pharmacy boards play an important role in regulating and disciplining pharmacies and helping protect patients, in some prescription error incidents, victims or the loved ones of victims may consider filing a lawsuit to recover damages. These suits can be complex as you navigate the laws and court system, but connecting with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your case can be beneficial.