A state pharmacy board is the organization in each state that is supposed to keep tabs on compounding pharmacies and retail pharmacies. They receive complaints from consumers about different pharmacies and are supposed to open up investigations. Additionally, they are supposed to inspect pharmacies from time to time. However, lack of funding across state boards makes it difficult for them to have enough staff and inspectors to properly provide the necessary oversight needed to protect the public.
Some pharmacies haven’t been inspected in years because state pharmacy boards are often spending their time focusing on pharmacists who are selling narcotics and controlled substances to people without prescriptions. While it is good that state pharmacy boards are cracking down on pharmacists who are a threat to the public’s safety and health and suspending them from practicing, it doesn’t leave pharmacy boards very much time to deal with other pharmacy issues and errors that occur such as:
- Customers getting the wrong medications.
- Patients receiving the wrong dosage of drugs.
- Pharmacists putting wrong directions on labels.
Additionally, pharmacy boards need extra inspectors to be able to monitor compounding pharmacies to make sure they are mixing and customizing drugs in a safe environment. For example, a new law was passed that will give the Massachusetts State Pharmacy Board additional members, and there will be at least one member on the board who has experience in compounding in order to properly monitor compounding pharmacies. While this is a move in the right direction, there are still not enough inspectors to effectively regulate compounding pharmacies and retail pharmacies.
Until then, the public needs to be proactive with their own healthcare. You can do this by keeping a log of your medications, having a pharmacy consultation when picking up your medication, and always asking questions if something doesn’t seem right. If you have been a victim of a pharmacy error, you should still report the incident to your state board of pharmacy, and you should learn about your rights. You can find out about your legal rights by getting a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.