It’s no secret that many industries are suffering from staffing shortages – and pharmacies are no exception. Many of the national pharmacy chains are cutting hours and informing patients that they need to expect a wait when they’re filling prescriptions.
For consumers, that’s troubling enough. Even more worrisome, however, is the fact that many of the pharmacists, technicians and assorted staff members on duty are working exhausting schedules under tremendous pressure – and that can easily lead to critical errors with your prescriptions.
Mistakes are probably a lot more common than anybody realizes
At this point, it’s wise for every patient to be somewhat proactive about their prescriptions. This means how pharmacy errors can happen and what you can do on your end to try to protect yourself.
Some of the most common types of pharmacy errors include:
- Dispensing the wrong medication in the right container
- Dispensing the right medication at the wrong dosage
- Dispensing medication to the wrong patient
- Not checking a patient’s drug allergies before dispensing a new medication
- Not checking for dangerous drug interactions before dispensing a new medication
All of these things can result in life-threatening emergencies and can even lead to permanent harm or death.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family? Here are some tips:
- Consider an independent pharmacy, where you can get to know your pharmacist directly. Small pharmacies don’t have quite the same pressures that you find in national chains.
- Make sure that you look at every prescription carefully, even if you’ve had it before. If you don’t recognize the shape, color, markings and overall design of the pill, ask the pharmacist to verify that it is the correct drug.
- Look carefully at the label of every new prescription bottle. Make sure that the name of the drug is the one you expect and the dosage is correct.
- Make sure that your pharmacy has a complete list of your medications and allergies. If you consistently use the same pharmacy, their internal software should alert the pharmacist to drug interactions or allergies.
Despite your best efforts, you can still end up the victim of a pharmaceutical error. If it caused you or your loved one a serious injury, it’s only wise to protect your interests as you pursue a claim for fair compensation.