Drug stores are chock-full with people from every corner asking for their medicine, and pharmacist filling stock every hour. And with that juggle, making mistakes, either because of negligence or purely accidental, becomes a common scenario. Previously, poor penmanship was considered as the bane to prescribe medicines and the prime cause of errors.
In fact, the recent reports of prescribing errors indicate that there are over 1.5 million medication errors every year, that costs up to $3.5 billion every year. While a huge proportion of errors are the result of software errors and glitches, factors like fatigue and fill-in the wrong information of patients also contribute to errors.
Furthermore, patients who take similar medicine regularly can identify if the prescription has changed. But, unfamiliar medicines or dosages can be difficult to identify. Moreover, some medicines are also manufactured in different batches by different companies, which also affect the size, color, and shape of the medicine.
So, inspect carefully and watch every medicine before leaving the pharmacy. Common causes of pharmacy errors:
- The wrong medication provided by the healthcare provider
- Wrong medicine dispensed by the pharmacists to the patient
- Giving the incorrect dosage of medication
The Most Common Prescription Errors:
A Prescription Label Having Incorrect Information:
A prescription label having incorrect direction is one of the most common types of errors, which is quite dangerous. Imagine taking up the wrong drug or dose thinking it’s the same medicine that is prescribed to you? Dreaded!
There are drugs with look-alike spelling and sound-alike names, therefore its easy to get the wrong drug and think that you have the right one.
Missing The Drug Interaction:
Another common type of prescription mistake is missing the drug interaction. For instance, rather than taking the prescribed medicines for seizure, taking its look-alikes can hamper your body as the phenytoin or dilantin long term side effects are deleterious.
Lack Of Awareness Of Expiration Dates:
Although there are expiration dates on the medicine labels, patients don’t pay much attention to the date. And when patients are unaware of the expiration dates, they unknowingly put them at major risk.
The Time Of The Drug:
There are certain drugs, which should be consumed at a specific time of the day. If not taken at the aid time, it might not elicit the desired effect.
What You Can Do If The Pharmacy Gives You The Wrong Prescription?
If you have been prescribed medication, but your pharmacy has given you the wrong one, or you are more concerned about the instructions and medications, ask the pharmacist right away! Every doubt and concerned should be brought under the prescriber or pharmacist attention. Here’s what you can do to when in doubt:
- Ask the prescriber to clearly write out the name of the medicine and dosage on a separate paper to ensure if the spelling is correct.
- Write down all the generic drugs that you prescribed
- Don’t leave the pharmacy unless you are sure of the correct medications
- If you have any doubts related to the shape, color, and marking of the medicine, speak to the pharmacist
- Update your medical provider with the allergies and other concerns related to the medications
Know Your Rights Related To Pharmacy Errors:
While there are many complains and claims that are filed against many pharmacists for providing wrong medication, it is equally important you know your rights as patients and consumers. You should know that you have some specific legal rights.
For instance, if you have suffered injuries and losses because of pharmacy errors, you are entitled to get the right compensation.
While not all medications errors are harmful, some are fatal and can take a toll on your health. However, correctly taking the prescription drug can improve the overall health and can also improve the quality of life of the patient.