When a Maryland patient receives a prescription from a pharmacist, they typically trust that the pharmacist has given them the correct medication and the correct dosage. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Pharmacists make mistakes far too often while filling patients’ prescriptions, and these mistakes can have long-lasting consequences and lead to illness, injury, or even sometimes death. Fortunately, however, there are things Maryland residents can do to protect themselves from pharmacy errors. The New York Times recently published an article detailing five things patients should do when getting a prescription from a pharmacy.
First, patients should talk to the pharmacist dispensing their drugs. Pharmacists are knowledgeable about drugs, common issues with drugs, and how they may interact with other medications someone is already taking. Talking to the pharmacist also increases the chance that they will take a second look at a patient’s prescription, hopefully catching any errors. This precautionary step is especially useful if it is a new medication, since patients may not know what the pill is supposed to look like and won’t immediately notice errors.
Second, patients can protect themselves by taking a few seconds right inside of the pharmacy to open the bag. According to Institute for Safe Medication Practices, one of the most common pharmacy errors is dispensing a prescription to the wrong patient. Take time to check that the correct name of the patient is on the bag as well as on the box or bottle inside the bag. In this instance, patients may be able to fix a pharmacy error before it even leaves the pharmacy.
Third, the New York Times recommends looking at the pills. Prescription bottles typically have a description of the pills. If the bottle says that the pills are round and white, and yet the pills inside are blue ovals, then there’s been an error. Sometimes, the difference between the prescription definition and the actual pills will be clear, but it can sometimes be very subtle, so in the case of any uncertainty websites such as WebMD and Drugs.com can help patients identify what their pills should look like.
The fourth recommendation may seem simple, but many patients routinely do not do it: read the instructions. Most prescriptions and drugs come with informational leaflets and instructions. While patients do not necessarily have to read these cover to cover, they should routinely take a look at them to make sure that the medication matches the ailment being treated, and that there are no obvious signs of error between the instructions on the leaflet and the instructions from the pharmacist.
Lastly, in the unfortunate case of an error, patients should alert the pharmacy as soon as possible. In many cases, errors come from switching two patients’ medications, and reporting the error minimizes the risk posed to the other patient, who may be taking the wrong prescription. Letting the pharmacies know that an error has been made can help them to prevent others in the future, protecting all of their patients.
Have You Been Injured By a Maryland Pharmacy Error?
Even if you took steps to protect yourself, Maryland pharmacy errors can still happen, and have devastating consequences. If you or a loved one has recently been affected, contact Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers today. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients against large pharmaceutical companies and their expensive legal teams, and seek to level the playing field and ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve. Schedule a free initial consultation with us today by calling 800-654-1949.