Across the nation, pharmacy errors seem to be on the rise — but the evidence is largely anecdotal, because there’s no national system for tracking the number of pharmacy errors that are made and drug stores aren’t required to report them.
What seems certain, however, is that pharmacies are generally overwhelmed with their workloads — some pharmacists struggle through 14-hour-long shifts and fill as many as 800 prescriptions in a day.
At least one retired pharmacist is willing to speak out, saying that chaos is an all-too-common condition in our nation’s pharmacies. Non-stop phone calls, interruptions, faxes, drive-thru services and fatigued employees are common.
When serious mistakes do happen and something tragic occurs, confidentiality agreements often bind the parties involved — which keeps the drug store from getting a bad name but also allows bad business to continue.
Sometimes, however, something happens that manages to hit the news and the information that comes out is both enlightening and terrifying. For example, one victim of a pharmacy error was given a blood thinner medication that was 10 times her usual strength. The resulting stroke crippled her and ended the treatment she was receiving for breast cancer that was still in its early stages.
What shocked many wasn’t the accident — instead, it was the fact that the teenage pharmacy tech involved, an employee of Walgreens, had no actual training that related to anything technical about her job. Her only previous occupation had been making popcorn at a local movie theater.
Many people presume that pharmacy technicians have at least some sort of specialized training to do what they do, given the essential functions they preform as part of the pharmacy team. In reality, there’s no nationally-required minimum education or training necessary to hold the job. In some states, you don’t even have to have a high school diploma.
If a loved one has died due to the negligence of a pharmacy staff member, an attorney can provide more information on your legal options. You may be able to seek compensation for your losses — and hopefully prevent someone else from suffering the same fate.
Source: FOX9, “Are more mistakes happening at pharmacies?,” Jeff Baillon, May 31, 2017