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Pharmacy Malpractice, Medication Error – Trust, but verify

As consumers of so many goods and services in our day-to-day lives, it is only natural that we have become accustomed to accepting – without thinking twice – whatever goods and services are provided to us. We trust that those who provide us with what we consume are acting responsibly, have exercised due diligence, and are in fact providing us with whatever it is we have specifically requested and expect to receive. Throughout our day, we constantly ingest products without hesitation, rarely stopping to think whether we may be placing harmful products into our bodies.

Prescription Medication.pngThe level of trust that we have in others as consumers may be even higher when dealing with and receiving goods from trained professionals. One example: Pharmacists. Naturally, when we pick up prescription medications at our local pharmacies, we fully expect that these professionals will always give us exactly what has been prescribed to us by our doctors. Of course, this is normally the case.

However, our law firm has dealt with several unfortunate occasions where pharmacies – including the largest, most nationally-recognized stores – have provided our clients with the wrong prescriptions. In these instances, these folks have gone on to consume whatever medication was wrongfully given to them, never imagining that a mistake of this magnitude could possibly occur. They have suffered permanent injuries as a result, either caused by the wrongful medication itself, or from not treating the medical condition for which they were prescribed medication in the first place.

ABC News reported on this issue not long ago, and their study revealed that pharmacists committed a 19% medication error rate. Even more alarming was the fact that 74% of the victims of medication error sustained an injury, and for 43% of them, the injury was permanent and irreversible. These statistics only include “Medication Errors”, which is defined as either giving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the right medication. This differs from “Adverse Drug Event” which is a harmful or adverse reaction to the correct medication, but impacts the patient negatively, such as an allergic reaction or an overdose.

In order to avoid this possibility, as a rule of thumb, always double-check your prescription medications upon receipt. Make sure that the medication you are given is intended for you, and that the medication itself is what it is supposed to be. Trust, but verify.

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