In medical malpractice circles, medication-related mistakes are among the most common. Thousands of patients die every year as a result of mistakes with medications, including mistakes made by doctors as well as pharmacists.
Understand the fundamentals of pharmacy-related medication mistakes to protect yourself and recognize a problem before it causes serious harm.
Common pharmacist mistakes with prescription medication
Pharmacists are responsible for the proper dosing of prescription medications and that process requires precision, accuracy and discipline. Pharmacists are not infallible. There are many prescription mistakes to watch for.
- Dispensing the wrong medication: sometimes the doctor provides the wrong medication, dispenses an improper dosage or provides the medication in an incorrect form.
- Providing incorrect instructions: pharmacists are susceptible to making mistakes with instructions, including applying incorrect labels, providing incorrect instructions on the label or misinterpreting the doctor’s instructions.
- Overlooking complications: prescription medications come with many complication risks, including allergies, interactions with other medications or dispensing a medication that acts in the same manner as one the patient already takes.
Although pharmacy procedures reduce these risks, those measures do not eliminate them.
Typical reasons for pharmacist mistakes
Pharmacist mistakes happen for a variety of reasons, including inexperience and insufficient training as well as a lack of oversight by attending pharmacists. Overworking and heavy reliance on automation also increase the risks of mistakes with prescription medications.
Be attentive to the accuracy of information when you receive medications from your pharmacy. Medical complications resulting from medication errors at your pharmacy can have lifelong consequences.