We all take prescription medications at one time or another. If you take a prescription drug on a regular basis, you are probably confident that you are taking the right prescription. But, do you look at the medication carefully or just the label on the bottle? Are you confident that the prescription you are receiving is exactly the medication your doctor prescribed? Nearly half of Americans do not.
One of the most common pharmacy errors is giving out the wrong drug. The other is giving the right drug, but the wrong dosage.
A seven-month old boy was diagnosed with a serious kidney condition at birth. Since then, he has undergone two surgeries and is given daily medication. When it came time to refill the prescription, his mother noticed something wasn’t right. The refill did not look like the previous pills she was giving her son. Thinking that the pharmacist made an error in filling the refill, the pills were taken back to the pharmacy. However, the pharmacist said that the refill was filled correctly, meaning that the initial prescription may not have been correct.
Concerned that the child may have been given the wrong medication for an entire month, the mother filed a complaint with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy Licensing. However, the pharmacy released a statement denying that an error occurred and claimed that a “thorough review of the safety procedures during the filling of the prescription in question found that all steps were performed. The State Pharmacy Board is still investigating the clam.
How can you help prevent pharmacy mistakes?
- Never take it for granted that the prescription you fill and pick up is exactly what you think it is.
- Know the brand name and generic name of the drug and why you are taking it.
- Know the correct spelling of the drug you should be taking. Have your doctor spell it and write it down yourself, clearly and legibly.
- Know the appearance of the drug. It if looks different than it has in the past, that your doctor described, or doesn’t match the bottle, do not take before talking with the pharmacist.
- Ask the pharmacist to look at the drug and dosage before you leave.
- Look at the insert that comes with the medication. Compare the shape, size, markings and color of the medicine before you take it.
If you have been injured by a pharmaceutical error or pharmacy negligence, contact your doctor or hospital immediately. Early treatment can prevent side-effects, complications, or death.
Experienced attorney, lawsuit funding expert, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series. The series features super-trial lawyer Zachary Blake handling "ripped from the headlines" legal and political issues of the day. The series currently consists of Betrayal of Faith, Betrayal of Justice, Betrayal in Blue, Betrayal in Black, and Betrayal High, with a sixth Zachary Blake novel due out later this year. To learn more about these topical social justice legal thrillers. please visit markmbello.com. Mark is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.