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Avoiding Pharmacy Errors

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Pharmacy errors are nothing new. Remember the scene in It’s a Wonderful Life when young George Bailey stops his pharmacist boss, Mr. Gower, from accidentally poisoning a patient? That was 1946. The drug industry has certainly changed a lot since then — mostly for the better. But not entirely.

One thing that has changed today, not only in pharmacies but in life in general, is that everyone seems to be overworked and under pressure. Pharmacies are no exception. In fact, studies have shown that the stress of having to crank out prescriptions quickly, particularly in large, high-volume chain stores, may be causing millions of pharmacy errors every year. Attempts by drug stores to relieve the pressure on pharmacists by delegating tasks to less-trained technicians may only make matters worse.

Taking the wrong medication, or even the wrong dosage of the right medication, can be debilitating and even deadly. You can help protect yourself by taking a few steps when you receive prescription drugs:

  • Know the name of the medication your doctor has prescribed, and check the label on the bottle carefully to make sure it matches exactly. Many drug names look or sound alike, and pharmacists or technicians may confuse them.
  • For prescriptions you refill regularly, make note of what the medicine looks like — for instance, the size, shape, color, and imprint of pills. If a refill looks different, ask the pharmacist about it.
  • Ask your doctor what dosage you need, and check the medication you receive to ensure that is what the label says.

Ultimately, however, it is the responsibility of your pharmacist to fill your prescription correctly. If you or a loved one is harmed by a prescription-filling error, your pharmacy may be held liable for your injuries. Contact a North Carolina personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

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