Imagine you are a pregnant woman experiencing high blood pressure in the latter half of your pregnancy. Your doctor has coached you to ditch the salt, de-stress, take more walks, etc., to lower your blood pressure the natural way, but it isn’t working. As a last resort, the doctor prescribes a blood-pressure-lowering medication to avoid complications for you and your unborn child. He has cautioned that high blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to reduced kidney and liver function, seizures, and stroke, and you aren’t willing to take any chances. Though you avoid medication – even Tylenol – you want to do everything you can to ensure your health, ensure the health of your baby, and bring this pregnancy to full-term.
The doctor calls in the drug Labetalol and on your way home from the doctor’s office, you swing by your local CVS to pick up the medication and do a little shopping. You are told to start taking the medication ASAP, so you take the first dose when you arrive at home. You have been journaling your blood pressure readings twice daily and you notice no change on the second day of taking the medication. You make a call to the doctor’s office and report this to the attending nurse. She asks you to review the bottle to ensure the dosing is correct, and in the process of relaying the information, you notice that the bottle lists Lamotrigine – not the Labetalol the doctor had prescribed. The nurse instructs you to stop taking the medication immediately and call your pharmacy about the error and get the correct medication. She also asks you to take your blood pressure multiple times in the next couple of days and provide any feedback regarding any strange symptoms. Though she tries to calm your nerves, this news drives your blood pressure way up – the polar opposite of what you need happening right now!
Now, what do you do?!?
First and foremost, you want to report this pharmacy error to the State Board of Pharmacy so that they can take appropriate action. Their job is to protect pharmaceutical consumers’ health and safety and recommend changes in a pharmacy’s process based on errors that occur. The only way to submit a complaint to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy is through written mail. You can call them at 800-821-3205 (option 5) to request a complaint form or go to their website to download it. Make sure you provide your name and contact information and the exact pharmacy location, name of the pharmacist or other employee involved in your complaint, and the incident’s specific details. They will take your complaint and the pharmacy and pharmacist’s negligence very seriously and will follow-up with you. It’s worth noting that this process can take several months or more.
If you haven’t received any communication from the Board in more than a year, you should follow-up with a phone call. It is worth noting that the Board will NOT compensate you for the adverse effects of the negligence you experienced, including any unplanned bills you received. If you need help with compensation, you should contact a pharmacy malpractice attorney. To schedule a free consultation with the Kennedy Law Firm, please contact [email protected]. We have experience holding these large-chain pharmacies accountable for their negligence, and we can help.