Pharmacy errors are probably more common than you think. I have represented many people who were given the wrong dose of a drug — or the wrong drug altogether — due to a pharmacist's negligence. Unfortunately, these pharmacy errors can have serious, even life-altering consequences.
According to a recent ABC News article, anecdotal evidence suggests that the problem of pharmacies incorrectly filling prescriptions is more common than many realize. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are so many ways to submit and fill prescriptions – including in-store and online.
It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly how often pharmacies commit errors because there’s no formal method used to track pharmacy errors. Alarmingly, there’s no requirement that pharmacies report their errors when they occur. Not surprisingly, pharmacies insist on confidentiality when they resolve claims for injuries from their errors.
Mix-ups occur when patients with the same or similar names are mixed up, when pharmacists or doctors fill a prescription for the wrong dosage of a drug, when there is a miscommunication between the pharmacy and the doctors’ office, and when the pharmacy or doctors' office commit clerical errors.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for patients to detect problems until it’s too late. Patients depend on their pharmacists not to endanger them with the wrong drug or a wrong dose. Patients rarely have any way to tell when they’ve been the victim of a botched prescription.
There are some steps I recommend to clients to provide some additional safeguards against being the victim of a pharmacy error:
- When your doctor gives you a prescription, be sure you can read what it says.
- When you pick up your prescription, take the bottle out, review it, and specifically ask the pharmacist if this is the medicine and dosage that your doctor prescribed. If the pharmacist is annoyed or dismissive, it’s time to find another pharmacy.
- When you look at the bottle, verify that the medicine matches your prescription and your name is on the container. If there are any discrepancies, insist on an explanation.
- If you experience side-effects after taking a drug that seem inconsistent with the warnings, immediately contact your doctor or pharmacist.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pharmacy error, contact Pavlack Law at (317) 251-1100 for a free consultation with an experienced and aggressive lawyer.
Safety First! Pavlack Law Second.