Chances are most people have heard of or read about someone being provided the wrong prescription or the wrong dose of a medication when they go to pick up their prescription from a retail pharmacy. In fact, these errors are quite common, with some estimates of the number of errors per year reaching into the millions. However, there are some things that people can do to help protect themselves against a pharmacist’s mistake.
According to a recent article, the best way to think about preventing a pharmacy error is to think about each phase in which the system can break down, potentially leading to an error. Thus, the article discusses the three main locations where a patient should take a few extra steps to ensure their safety.
At the Doctor’s Office
Knowledge is key in the doctor’s office. Knowing which drug a doctor is prescribing for a patient will help a patient be able to identify if they are provided with a different medication. However, knowing why a patient is being prescribed a medication is also important. If the doctor includes the reason for the prescription in the text of the prescription, the pharmacist is much less likely to make an error by providing the wrong medication.
At the Pharmacy
Taking ample time to understand what is happening is critical when a patient is at the pharmacy. First, by opening the bag and inspecting what the pharmacist has provided, the patient can realize early on whether there is a problem. Also, talking to the pharmacist about the medication is always a good idea. Pharmacists should be willing to take the time to speak with a patient about any questions they have about their prescription. This consultation will provide an additional layer of protection against errors as well.
Finally, once a patient gets home, it is important that they remain vigilant. First, they should inspect the pills themselves and compare them to what was prescribed in the past. Did the pills look or taste different? Did the instructions say to take a different number of pills? If this is the case, an error may have occurred, and it is very important that you report it. It is important to report any problems so that the pharmacy staff has an opportunity to learn from their mistake and prevent similar mistakes in the future.
Have You Been Provided with the Wrong Medication?
If you or a loved one has recently been provided with a dangerous drug by a pharmacist, and you have suffered as a result, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you cover the costs associated with the error. This may include amounts for past and future medical expenses, time away from work, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the mix-up. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.
More Blog Posts:
The Nurse’s Role in Preventing Hospital and Nursing Home Pharmacy Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 1, 2016.
The Ease of Obtaining an Opioid Prescription, Even After an Overdose, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, January 18, 2016.