Modern times have led to a reduction in mom-and-pop pharmacies and an increase in commercial pharmacies that dominate this business. While some may argue that retail pharmacies have resulted in a more systemized approach to the dispensation of prescriptions, it may have also opened the door to less individual attention being paid to consumers. While everyone makes mistakes in their job, a medical professional or pharmacists’ errors can lead to deadly results. An investigation run by the New York Times presented a pharmacist’s acknowledgment of these unfortunate errors, attributing the issue to a shortage of staff. One anonymous pharmacist from South Carolina admitted to making 10 to 12 errors that year — and these were only the errors that were caught. While patients have little control over the prescriptions that they are given, there are a few ways that they can mitigate their risk of taking incorrect medication.
Speak With Your Pharmacist
Pharmacies always seem to have long lines of customers who are waiting for their medication refills and few employees working at any given time. Although it may seem bothersome during busy times, it is important to discuss your prescription with your pharmacist. Ask them targeted questions about possible side effects and any other medication you are taking that may interfere with this medicine. By asking these questions, the pharmacist will likely take a second look at the prescription to make sure that it matches your doctor’s orders.
Look Before Leaving
Most people trust their pharmacy like they trust their doctors, assuming that the diagnoses and treatments given to them are appropriate. However, before heading out the door, you should check the prescription information on the outside of the bag as well as on the bottle. Be sure that your name is on both labels and that the prescription name matches. If you have had this medication before, check that the pills themselves match your previous prescription. It is not uncommon for a pharmacist to accidentally place someone else’s prescription with a similar name as yours in your bag. If you check for this mistake before leaving the pharmacy, you can be sure that you are leaving with your prescription, not someone else’s.
Read the Details
Pharmacists include an informational leaflet with each of their prescriptions, even those that are not new to the patient. Take a look at the additional information to see if the medication listed is used to treat your symptoms or ailments. If the information does not reflect the details you talked to your doctor about, there may be a mixup with the prescription that you have been given.
Report Any Mistakes
If you notice an error with your prescription, you should inform both the pharmacist and your doctor. If you have received an incorrect prescription, there are likely other cases out there. Your prescription may have been switched with someone else accidentally or the pharmacist may have a history of pharmaceutical errors. It is important to notify your doctor as well since the root of the issue may have started with the prescription note. If the physician was the one who gave you an incorrect prescription, he or she may be held responsible for the error. You can also report the discrepancy to state pharmacy boards to make them aware of the issue.
Contact a Palatine Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Taking the incorrect prescription can lead to serious consequences, from mild side effects to ongoing medical issues. In some cases, you could be taking the wrong prescription for months, or even years, before realizing the mistake. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we pride ourselves on fighting for those who have been injured or hurt by another person’s negligence. Whether intentional or accidental, pharmaceutical mistakes should be addressed to save others from this neglect. If you have been given the wrong prescription, contact our Rolling Meadows medical negligence attorneys at 847-797-8000 for your free initial consultation.