When you have your prescription filled, you assume the pharmacist is exercising caution and filling your script correctly. Most people don’t even think about whether the script is correct. But what happens when a pharmacy error injures, or even kills you or a loved one? It may occur more often than you would like to think. Pharmacists should be held to the same safety standard as doctors and other health car providers—their patients’ lives are at risk in the same way. Here are some facts to keep in mind regarding pharmacy errors, courtesy of B Braun USA:
- Medical and pharmaceutical errors cause 7,000 deaths annually in the United States.
- Injuries due to adverse drug effects total more than 770,000 injuries or deaths annually, and on average cost each hospital $5.6 million.
- The average patient who suffered an adverse drug effect while in the hospital stays on average 8 to 12 days longer, costing them $16,000-$24,000 more in healthcare costs.
- According to one study, two out every 100 hospitalized patients experience a preventable adverse drug effect.
- Adverse drug effects that are considered preventable cost the healthcare system in the United States approximately $2 billion annually.
Legislators are attempting to fight the problem, but there is no easy solution, and mistakes are bound to happen. Misreading labels causes a significant number of the pharmacy errors. One way around these errors is to place bar codes on the scripts so the pharmacists can just scan them instead of having to read them.
“You’ve got health-care professionals who are in a hurry, seeing many, many patients,” says Assistant U.S. Health Secretary Bobby Jindal. “This [bar codes on prescription medications] allows them to rely on a computer to make sure they’re giving the right amount of medicine or that they don’t give the wrong medicine.”
Have you or a loved one ever had an error in a prescription you filled at a pharmacy? It is important that you report these errors and contact an attorney to recover any damages you may be entitled to.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A.—Orlando personal injury attorneys.