Based on the National Observational Study of Prescription Dispensing Accuracy and Safety in a 50 pharmacy test, an estimated 6.5% of all medical prescriptions are filled incorrectly to a point to be of clinical importance. The same study shows that there are roughly 4 mistakenly filled prescriptions per every 250 prescriptions filled daily. Nationally, that is an estimated 51.5 million errors occurring during the filling of 3 billion prescriptions each year.
These mistakes can be as minor as providing one extra pill or as significant as giving the completely wrong medication or the wrong dosage causing death. In some instances the accident is not recognized because the medication is silently damaging a person’s internal organs in a manner that cannot be reversed. The most apparent impact of being given the wrong prescription is that the needed medication prescribed to the patient by their doctor is not being administered and only causes a delay in their needed treatment.
These mistakes at the pharmacy are often seen in situations where there are similar medication names and the medication is switched accidentally. Also, it is seen when a person is given the wrong medication because their name is similar to someone else’s.
Sometimes even the mistakes are done by their own doctor. A doctor could mistakenly not consider all of the allergies their patient has, or the other medications the patient is currently taking.
For years, governmental entities have been providing responsible oversight to drug manufacturers and pharmacists to ensure the quality and quantity of medications are filled accurately. For instance, a national standard of less than a 5% error rate has been established for medication administration in nursing homes. If there is an error rate exceeding 5%, the government will withhold their certification to the facility, and it will not be able to receive any governmental medical funding in the form of Medicare or Medicaid.
Even with these steps, pharmacy filling accidents still occur. Currently, Abraham Watkins is representing a local mother who lost her daughter in a terrible tragedy caused by a pharmacy’s error. The client’s daughter received a fatal dosage of morphine used to treat her pain associated with a sickle cell crisis and was found dead the following day; the pharmacy prescribed 10 times the dosage she was supposed to have.