Steps for Preventing Prescription Errors in Pharmacies

In a related blog from yesterday, our Maryland Pharmacy Misfill Lawyers discussed a recent article from USA Today, where the step-by-step process of how a prescription is filled was followed in two pharmacies—to uncover how pharmacy mistakes are taking place, and how to prevent them in the future.

The article revealed how the possible errors are made and also discussed what steps pharmacies are making to try and prevent these errors, and reduce the number of pharmacy mistakes and patient injuries that could happen in the future.

Pharmacies are trying to prevent errors by:

• Encouraging improved communications between doctors and pharmacies.

• Encouraging doctors to write the prescriptions in full length, instead of using medical codes or abbreviations.

• Trying to transition from prescriptions that are handwritten to electronic prescribing—where a doctor sends the prescription directly from the doctors’ offices to the pharmacy computers.

• Computers are being used to aid the prescribing process, with more alerts for drug interactions, allergies, or patient’s illnesses.

• Other computer safety features include popup boxes when a technician enters or confuses a drug name with similarly named drug. After the popup appears, the technician has to initial the box to show he checked the drug.

• A hardcopy of the prescription is scanned into the computer system so the pharmacist can verify the prescription on a split screen—to review the pharmacy filled with the original prescription.

• Computer screens show a color picture of the bottle and the prescribed drug, as well as the shape and marking on the pills or capsules inside.

• Pharmacies are being encouraged to separate drugs with similar names on the drug supply shelves.

• Warning signs have been placed in drug supply areas to remind pharmacy staff to always double-check medications with names that are similar.

• The most dangerous drugs like narcotic painkillers are kept locked away in a cabinet or safe that only the pharmacist has access to.

• Pharmacists are encouraged to open the bottle in front of the patient to inspect the contents, as well as the inspection of the shape, color or markings on the pills or capsules.

• The Pharmacist can also prevent medication error by discussing with the patient what the drug was prescribed for, what condition is and how to take the medication.

At Lebowitz and Mzhen, our lawyers are committed to making sure that pharmacy misfill victims and their loved ones receive the personal injury compensation they deserve. If you or someone you loved has been injured due to a pharmacy error in the Washington D.C. area or in the state of Maryland, contact us today for a free consultation.

Prescription Errors: A Prescription’s Path Through a Pharmacy, USA Today

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports

National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, (NCCMERP)

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