10 Things to Look for to Ensure the Pharmacy Is Giving You the Right Medication
- At least 1.5 million individuals are harmed from prescription errors each year. Additionally, an estimated 7,000 deaths occur due to pharmacy mistakes annually in the U.S., costing $77 billion.
- Pharmacist errors can lead to patients who seriously overdose, underdose, are poisoned and even killed.
- Common mistakes are made when incorrect directions are given, dosages are wrong, or drug crossing interactions pose a risk and go unnoticed by trained pharmacists.
- Individuals can help protect themselves from medication errors by double checking all prescriptions, asking questions, and being more knowledgeable about what has been given to them.
How to Protect Yourself from Medication Errors
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that 1.5 million people are injured annually by prescription medication mistakes, and some 7,000 of them actually have died from these common pharmaceutical errors:
- Delivering an incorrect dosage (too much or too little)
- Drug interactions that go unnoticed as harmful if crossed or taken together
- Wrong directions or medications printed on the label
- Medicines with similar sounds or spellings inadvertently being substituted for the correct prescriptions
- Patients receiving someone else’s medication
Pharmacies are responsible for delivering a safe duty of care to dispense drugs, but patients also need to look for clues that could alert them of a mistake with medication or medication orders. Officials at the National Institutes of Health say any concerns should be brought to the prescribing doctor and pharmacist before taking any medicine if:
- The appearance (color, shape, markings on tablet) is different than expected and the pharmacist hasn’t warned you about a switch in generic manufacturer.
- The smell or taste is different than expected or extremely unpleasant.
- The amount of liquid in a syringe or bottle or number of pills (more than 2 or 3) is more or less than expected.
- The number of pills in a prescription bottle is more or less than expected.
- The directions on a prescription bottle differ from what your doctor told you or included on the prescription.
- The name of the medication on the prescription bottle is not as expected or the patient’s name on the label isn’t as it should appear (including misspellings or suffixes like Jr. or Sr.).
- The reason for taking the medication (on the prescription bottle, in a leaflet, or mentioned by the pharmacist) is different than the condition you are treating.
- The doctor’s name on the medication label is not your doctor.
- The medication does not seem to be working to treat your condition as you had expected.
- After taking a medication you experience unexpected side effects, or the side effects you experience are much stronger than expected. Also, after renewing a prescription, you just don’t feel right and experience new side effects or begin to notice physical changes after taking a few doses, such as a change in urine color, unexpected weakness or drowsiness, breathing difficulties, heart racing, vision problems, etc.
If there was a breach in a pharmacist’s or prescribing physician’s duty of care, it is necessary to hold the right group accountable and be compensated for any injuries or sicknesses related to the error.
Legal Help After Pharmacy Error
Our experienced medical malpractice and pharmacy error attorneys have helped recover millions of dollars for clients who were injured due to prescription medication mistakes, as well as for the families of those who have lost their lives as the result of pharmacist negligence. Whether you yourself were seriously injured or a loved one faced illness or serious health risks or even death, we can help.
Give us a call today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation or share your story with us by submitting our online form and we will be in touch.