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Dealing with prescription errors

Residents of New Mexico may be interested in a recent article in U.S. News that discussed how consumers can deal with prescription mistakes at pharmacies. Pharmacists are human too, and while they are highly trained, they sometimes make mistakes in filling prescriptions. According to the article, between 1 and 5 percent of prescriptions filled at pharmacies contain some kind of error. These can include a mistake in dosage instructions or even the wrong medication in the container.

Consumers are advised to always check the medication with the pharmacist before leaving. In fact, according to the article, every consumer has the right to a consultation with the pharmacist upon receiving their medication. This gives them the valuable opportunity to discuss the medication, dosage and side effects fully. It also creates more of an opportunity for any mistakes to be found and corrected before they cause a problem.

If a consumer notices a prescription error after leaving the pharmacy, they should notify the pharmacy of the mistake. Not only can they then get the correct medication or instructions, but their report may help prevent the mistake in the future. The article also warned consumers to keep the prescription they were originally given safe and not return it to the pharmacy. This gives them evidence to present in case of a lawsuit.

Sometimes serious complications can arise due to a prescription mistake. Taking an incorrect medication or an incorrect dose can lead to serious injury or even death. When this does occur, the pharmacy or individual pharmacist who filled the prescription can be held liable for damages in a lawsuit. The damages can offset any medical expenses and losses related to the mistake. Lawsuits are also a valuable tool for helping to improve the system overall. They can motivate hospitals and pharmacies to make safety improvements and prevent future mistakes.

Source: US News Health, "How to Deal With Prescription Mistakes", Lisa Esposito, July 03, 2014

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