Pharmacy Mistakes Costs Consumers and Retailers

Aug 16, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A study by Auburn University estimates 51 million prescriptions filled by pharmacies every year contain an error. Of those, three million could harm patients.

Two recent cases in the news have demonstrated the high costs associated with pharmacists incorrectly filling prescription medicines.

A Cook County, Ill. court recently ruled against Walgreen, awarding $21 million to a girl from Elgin who was left paralyzed because she was repeatedly given an adult dose of a diabetes drug instead of the child’s dose.

In Washington State, Keith Sabey, 63, said he chose Wal-Mart over Safeway to get his testosterone prescription because it was less expensive. Instead of getting the prescribed medicine, alleges Mr. Sabey, he was given estrogen. As a result, he claims that he has experienced heart problems, shrinking genitals and developed breast tissue. Mr. Sabey has not brought a suit, as of this time, against the retailer.

Moderator’s Comment: What can retail pharmacies do
to improve prescription filling? What should a retailer do if a problem has
been identified?

More pharmacy operations are looking at robots to speed
up and improve the accuracy of filling prescriptions. Radio frequency identification
technology is also being touted as a means to not only improve inventory management
but to cut down on drug counterfeiting.
George Anderson – Moderator

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