A pharmacist is a patient’s most accessible health care provider. If you think about it, pharmacists advise on prescription medications, over the counter medications, as well as health and vitamin supplements. This advice is available in-person or over the phone – without the need for an appointment. This fact is impressive, considering all of the things a pharmacist is juggling at any given time in a retail pharmacy setting. They are also EXPECTED to be the last line of defense and catch errors and contraindications for a patient. That is a lot to expect of any professional let alone one that plays a vital role in a patient’s health.
There are a lot of systems in place to help the pharmacist avoid making mistakes. Some techniques are as simple as putting similar looking and sounding medications on different shelves. Other methods are more sophisticated – such as software that gives a visual representation of the drug. All of these systems and controls are in place so that when they do their last manual check of the medicine before they hand it over to you, the pharmacist can be confident that they’ve dispensed the correct medication, with the proper dosing instructions, and the right quantity of pills.
According to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, approximately 21 percent of pharmacy errors are dispensing errors. That percentage may or may not surprise you, but you must be aware of the statistic to protect and advocate for yourself.
Here are five steps you can take to make sure you don’t land in the 21 percent:
- Let the pharmacist know if you have any allergies and have them note them on your record.
- Keep the pharmacist informed of any health conditions you currently have, or have had.
- Have one pharmacy handle all of your medication dispensing so they have all the information they need to inform you of any contraindications.
- Inform the pharmacist of any supplements you take or regular OTC medications.
- Accept the counseling offered each time you pick up a prescription.
If you have experienced a pharmacy dispensing error, contact an attorney with a long track record of representing patients. Kennedy Law Firm, LLP is such a practice. Call them at 713-325-6445. You should not feel bad about filing a claim against any facility that has failed to protect your health.