Modern medicine is expensive, and that’s especially true if you’ve ever had to pay out of pocket. Pharmaceutical costs can be particularly high, and that’s why we expect workers at pharmacies to meet the highest standards. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way in the real world and people can get seriously hurt or killed from a pharmacy error.
A pharmacy error is when a person gets a prescription filled at a pharmacy and unknowingly receives the wrong drug. They may come in for a painkiller and instead receive something that changes their blood pressure. This can easily be a lethal scenario, and unfortunately, patients usually can’t tell they received the wrong drug when they open the bottle.
Pharmacy errors include any inconsistencies or deviations from the prescription order, such as dispensing the incorrect drug, dose, dosage form, wrong quantity, or inappropriate, incorrect, or inadequate labeling
We’ve never seen a case where a doctor wrote down the wrong medication. We’ve also never seen a case where the prescription note was misread because of poor penmanship. If the pharmacy staff can’t read it, they always call the doctor’s office to double-check.
What’s far more common is someone inside the pharmacy is paying more attention to their coworker than to the important prescription drug task they are working on, and they end up putting the wrong medication in the bottle.
There could be other issues, like if a pharmacy is understaffed and employees rush to fill orders, work when fatigued, or receive poor training. Regardless, the mistake always comes down to human error inside the pharmacy, and that is the responsibility of both the staff and the owner of the pharmacy.