Guide to Reducing Pharmacy Medication Errors

Jeffrey A. Mitchell

Written by  Pro

Medical Malpractice Attorney

Contributor Level 9

Posted about 4 years ago. 3 helpful votes

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1

Unreadable Prescriptions

Doctors are notorious for terrible handwriting. If a pharmacist cannot reach a doctor to confirm his prescription, it leaves the pharmacist in a bad position with a waiting customer. One letter can make a difference in dispensing the correct drug and an incorrect one. Before you leave your doctor's office check the prescription sheet and make sure you know what prescription you are supposed to be receiving and that the physician's handwriting is legible.

2

Distractions

It is not uncommon for a pharmacist to be attending to a customer on the phone, the drive through window and a customer at the counter at the same time. If you see that your pharmacist is that busy, you should make sure you double check your prescription before you leave. You may also consider going at off-peak times.

3

Verify the Dosages and Drug Names With Your Doctor

Before you leave the doctor's office, it is not only a good idea to make sure that his handwriting is legible, but also advisable to make sure that you verify the drug name and dosages with him. Some generic brands may require different dosages. Have your doctor go over this information with you. Write down what he tells you.

4

Go to a Reputable Pharmacy

We sometimes let price dictate all of our decisions. However, make sure that your pharmacy is reputable. You can contact your local state pharmacy board for information. Some of those boards will even tell you if your pharmacist has been disciplined in the past.

5

Avoid the Drive-Up WIndow

Statistics show that many errors are committed at the drive up window. There are many distractions for the pharmacist who is attending to the drive up window. If possible avoid using the drive up window to minimize your chances of a pharmacy error.

6

Never Trust Them

Even pharmacists urge their patient to double check their work. Read the prescription that your doctor gives to you out loud. Before you leave, make sure that what you were given by the pharmacist matches what you verified with your doctor. Check the labels to also make sure that the times and dosages match what your doctor told you.

7

What Are Potential Drug Interactions of Prescription Meds

Whenever you are taking more than one medication at a time, even if the other medication is not prescription, it is important to know if your prescription medication has any interactions with any drugs you are currently taking. Some drugs have serious, even fatal, interactions with other drugs. Make sure you know if your medication has any of these.

8

Understand Side Effects of Medications

Virtually all medications have side effects. How these side effects react with your body depends on many factors. It is important to understand all of the potential side effects of a medication that you are taking so you can be on the lookout for serious problems before they get serious.

Additional Resources

Medical Malpractice-Pharmacy/Medication Errors

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