pharmacy errors

Do a Pharmacy Check-Up for Your Safety – Pharmacy Errors

Today’s pharmacies are busy places. Thousands of incoming orders and outgoing medications, it’s difficult to find data on what the exact volume is. But if you’ve been to your local pharmacy recently, you know it’s a lot.

Some states have proposed limiting the number of prescriptions that can be filled per pharmacist, but there is little control over that type of system. Reality is that most prescription orders are actually filled by the technicians and “verified” by the pharmacist. Most patients are at the mercy of “the system” which includes all your information being kept in a computer database, and this is where you can take steps to at least make sure they have accurate information.

It’s probably not a good idea to use more than one pharmacy for your medications. The reason is that pharmacy computer where you order your medications keeps a list of all your medications and this way they are able to check for the potential for adverse reactions. If you are frequenting pharmacies that data is probably not shared.

So, many health care specialists recommend you do a pharmacy check-up at least twice a year. This means setting aside some time to ask your pharmacist to verify the information in their computer system as accurate and up-to-date. You should always have a list of exactly what medications you are taking and what the dosage is. Verify all this with your pharmacist. When anything changes, let them know immediately.

If you stop taking a particular medication, you should notify your pharmacist so they can remove it as being a “current” medication. We are at the mercy of the system in many respects, so we have to work with it and do our best to make sure the information is accurate.

Every time you drop off your prescriptions:

• Tell your pharmacist all the medications and over-the-counter drugs you take – especially those vitamins and herbal remedies purchased at health food or grocery stores, nutrition or smoothie shops. Your pharmacist has references that identify potential drug interactions.
• Confirm that the computer has your current prescription benefit information, allergies and/or drug intolerances, and phone number.
• Find out how many refills you can get. Make sure that your physician has provided enough refills until your next visit. Prescriptions and refills are only valid for one year.

Each time you pick up your prescriptions:

• Confirm the drug is correct at the pharmacy counter. Compare the instructions given by your physician to the drug name on the pharmacy label.
• Open the bottle and look at the medications to confirm that the medications are imprinted with the correct drug name and strength. If there is no imprint, ask the pharmacist technician or the pharmacist to show you the bottle from which the medication was dispensed for comparison. Also learn what your medications look like if you take them over a period of time.
• Liquids usually have a unique scent. Learn to recognize your liquid medications by smell.
• Confirm the dosage is correct. Compare the instructions given by your physician to the instructions on the pharmacy label.
• Pediatric medications are at high risk for dosage errors. Most drugs’ dosages are based on weight. Confirm your child’s medication dose with your child’s doctor and/or pharmacist.

Every patient should try to play a role in the system by being inquisitive. Ask questions and verify everything. If you feel confused and don’t believe you can adequately do these things, ask for help. If a pharmacist or pharmacy tech won’t give you the time to properly explain things to you, ask the store manager. If you’re not satisfied, you may want to try a different pharmacy. And you can always ask your doctor for help, or the staff.

No system is perfect, but today’s prescription medication process is so stressed with high volume and multiple drugs that mistakes are common. Working with patients who are victims of pharmacy errors has been a special area of focus for our law practice for many years. It is a complex area and requires extensive knowledge of drugs and procedures used by physicians and pharmacies. If you believe you may have been made sick because of a pharmacy error, you should give us a call and tell us your circumstances. We are here to help. 954-356-0006.

pharmacy negligence attorney

How Many New Drugs are Approved Each Year?

Florida Pharmacy LawyerWhen you go to the pharmacy and see all those bottles behind the counter, do you ever wonder how many drugs there are? How many new drugs are introduced to the market? How do they keep track of all those drugs?

You might think that hundreds of new drugs hit the market every years, but actually it’s not that many. In 2016 there were 21 new drugs approved by the FDA. They are called novel drugs.

A Novel Drug or a New Molecular Entity (NME) is an active compound, complex, molecule that previously has not been approved by the FDA/EMA. This is different from a previously approved drug that has received approval for an different but new condition.

The new drugs for 2016 range from treatments for muscular dystrophy and cancer to drugs that help dry-eye syndrome. Click here to see a list of all the new drugs.

How many drugs, in total have been approved by the FDA? That number currently is about 1500 and over-the-counter drugs number about 5000. When you consider that doctors and pharmacists have to aware of all 6500, it’s quite a challenge. These professionals are responsible for understanding the side-effects, the interactions, and also how they may react when mixed with different types of foods and in different environments. Some drugs should never be taken with grapefruit juice, and others should not be taken at high altitudes.

Despite the complexity of the prescription medication industry, these are the responsibilities assumed by pharmacists and physicians. You, as a patient, should keep in mind that sometimes  medical professionals make mistakes and you should do everything you can to make sure you understand. Take a few minutes to ask your doctor about what medications might not mix with your diet. Ask your pharmacist to explain dosage quantities and times if you don’t understand.

Large pharmacy chains are always busy, but you deserve some time to make sure you’re taking medication that will heal you, not hurt you.

Pharmacy Negligence Attorney

Pharmacy errors has been a major part of our work with people across south Florida for over 20 years. We understand drugs uses, interactions, and side-effects and if you think you’ve been the victim of a mistake we might be able to help. Call us at 954-356-0006 and we’ll talk.

Caution: OTC Pain Relievers Sometimes Mix Poorly with Other Meds – Pharmacy Errors

Here is an all-too-common scenario in the world today: A healthy person does to the doctor for a check-up and the doctor finds his or her pharmacy errorsblood pressure is a little high, so a medication is prescribed. The person then goes to a dermatologist for a rash and another medication is recommended. Then the patient is prescribed an antibiotic after a dental procedure, and so on. The patient tells the pharmacist about all three meds but doesn’t mention the 6 to 10 ibuprofen capsules taken every day because of a sore back. This is a prescription for danger.

It’s a pharmacist’s responsibility to check what other meds a patient is taking by looking what else is in the computer, and certainly your physician should be aware of all medications you are taking. They should also know if you are taking over-the-counter pain relievers, especially if you take more than recommended on the label.

Coumadin is a common blood-thinner prescribed often, but it should never be taken at the same time as aspirin. This has been a fatal combination in many cases, and ibuprofen is also not to be taken with the drug, also known as warfarin. Supplements are another yellow flag for people taking prescription medications. Because the ingredients in supplements are not always apparent, it’s best to do some research before taking them at the same time as prescribed medication.

Read more “Caution: OTC Pain Relievers Sometimes Mix Poorly with Other Meds – Pharmacy Errors”

When are Pharmacy Errors Considered Malpractice?

Alexander Pope, an 18th century English poet, said “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” That may be true, but it’s difficult to forgive someone when their error causes serious damage.

pharmacy errorsIn the healthcare industry, human error has become one of the leading causes of death, and people in hospitals now refer to serious mistakes as “nevers” which means they are never supposed to happen. There are lots of checks and balances, and yet people are still harmed and killed by “nevers.”

With prescription medications, these mistakes can happen in the hospital, in your doctor’s office, and in your local pharmacy. When does a “never” mistake become malpractice? Malpractice is defined as improper, illegal, or negligent professional activity or treatment, especially by a medical practitioner, lawyer, or public official. These are people who are held to a higher standard by the legal system due to their level of education, training, and the vital nature of their work. If you order a steak medium-rare but they cook it until it’s black, that’s not malpractice. Just a mistake.

Read more “When are Pharmacy Errors Considered Malpractice?”