If you’re among the millions of Americans who need prescription medication every day to manage your medical conditions, you rely on your pharmacist quite a bit.
But modern pharmacies are busy, impersonal places, and mistakes can and do happen all the time. In fact, it’s estimated that roughly 1.5 million prescription errors happen every year — and those are just the ones that end up hurting someone, not the ones that go unreported because they were caught in the nick of time.
What are the biggest pharmacy dangers to patients?
While threats to patient safety abound, some mistakes are more common than others. The three top errors you’re likely to experience when dealing with a pharmacy include:
- Dosage miscalculations: Pharmacists and pharmacy techs frequently have to do a little math to make sure that patients get the proper doses. Math anxiety, stress and general fatigue can sometimes lead to mistakes.
- Dispensing errors: Far too often, drugs with like-sounding names can get mixed up. Or, a pharmacist may simply mistake one drug for another and put the wrong pills in a correctly labeled bottle. Either way, tragedy can result.
- Failure to identify problem drugs: Pharmacists are the last line of a defense a patient has against a fatal combination of medication(s) that are contraindicated for their conditions. When a pharmacist ignores a red flag and doesn’t take into account the patient’s other drugs or known allergies, that’s a problem.
While patients are always cautioned to inspect their medication carefully and to talk to a pharmacist or doctor before they take anything that looks unfamiliar, the reality is that mistakes slip through all the time.
If you or your loved one suffered an injury because of a pharmacy mistake, you have every right to pursue a medical malpractice claim. An attorney can help you learn more.