Pharmacists Give Insight on How Pharmacy Mistakes Happen

Posted on September 16, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group


Angry patients, constant phone calls, long work hours, hundreds of prescriptions, careless doctors and negligence are all causes of pharmacy mistakes, according to a Drug Topics article. Pharmacy mistakes can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for patients, so it is important to understand how such errors can happen.

One of the pharmacists interviewed for the article made an excellent point by claiming, “If you get the wrong hamburger from McDonald’s, you can return it, but if I give you the wrong drug, you may not be back.” Those words are very true, and pharmacy errors happen by the thousands every year.

Long work hours and filling dozens of prescriptions every hour were argued as major reasons for errors. In a whistleblower suit against CVS pharmacy last year, a former employee complained that pharmacists were given 22 seconds to take phone calls and only 15 minutes to fill prescriptions. The pharmacist involved in the lawsuit claimed at least one mistake was made every day, sometimes more. CVS is one of the largest pharmacies in the United States.

Pharmacy Mistakes Are More Common Than You Think

In a 10-year study on pharmacy mistakes, CAN and Healthcare Providers Service Organization determined 75.3 percent of errors led to patients receiving the wrong drugs or incorrect dosages. Due to those errors, overdose occurred 13.6 percent of the time and death 11.7 percent.

Pharmacy errors are especially frightening to patients, who trust that they are receiving the correct medications with the right dosages. It is unexpected when medications cause overdose or other adverse effects.

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