justice can be served when loved ones are victimized by rx errors

All this week, we’ve been discussing what pharmacies can and should do to protect patients from the dangers posed by medication errors involving the wrong drug, wrong dosage and even the wrong patient.

While it may be tempting to dismiss the dangers posed by medication errors, consider that the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Program, which is designed to monitor adverse drug events/effects, had roughly 2,500 prescription error reports submitted in 2012 and 2013. Similarly, officials with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices suggest that prescription errors could be as high as one in five.

For those left unpersuaded by these figures, we offer the following anecdotes to outline just how much of a danger prescription errors really are.

  • In Tennessee, a firefighter was recently prescribed Mobic, an anti-inflammatory prescription, to treat his shoulder pain. However, he was instead given Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. After mistakenly taking the drug for an extended period, he had to go to the emergency room twice after complaining of hallucinations, shortness of breath and rapid heart rate. Indeed, his heart rate was so elevated that he had to be administered medication to help lower it. It was later discovered that another person’s medication was put into his bag.
  • In Michigan, a 14-year-old boy prescribed medication to treat his ADHD was instead given the asthma medicine Singulair. He mistakenly took the drug for an entire month with his parents noticing a decline in his schoolwork and sharper mood swings during this time. It was later discovered that he was accidentally given the medication of someone with a similar name.

These figures and anecdotes aren’t meant to cause unnecessary alarm, but rather to draw attention to the fact that medication errors can happen and that patients need to remain vigilant. Indeed, we’ve outlined steps that they can take to protect themselves.

It’s also important to understand that when medication errors do occur and people suffer serious injuries or worse that the offending pharmacies can be held accountable for their negligence. Please visit our website to learn how.

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