Some pharmacists dispense about 10,000 prescriptions a month, while others dispense more or less. Because of the sheer volume of medicine that is flowing out of a pharmacy, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are bound to make mistakes from time to time. Unfortunately, they are human and work with huge workloads in fast paced environments—which is not a good combination.
Some Factors That Contribute to Pharmacy Mistakes
- High prescription volume – More and more people are taking prescriptions now and pharmacies are swamped at the beginning of the month when people receive their Social Security checks. Pharmacy techs and pharmacists have to rush to fill these prescriptions, which can cause them to make mistakes.
- Filling prescriptions quickly – Due to increased workloads, most chain store pharmacies like CVS urge their pharmacists and techs to fill prescriptions in five minutes or less, compared to eight minutes over two decades ago. This pressure to get prescriptions filled quickly can contribute to mistakes.
- Distractions – Pharmacists are required to answer far too many telephone call—all while starting and stopping different tasks. When pharmacists get interrupted while they are filling a prescription, it is easy for a mistake to occur.
- Shortage of support personnel – There is a nationwide shortage of trained pharmacists and many are getting replaced by technicians who have less training—all so pharmacies can save money, even at the customer’s expense.
- Look-alike/sound-alike drug names – When drugs have similar names, pharmacy techs and pharmacists may become confused and overlook the correct drug name, mistaking it for the similar sound-alike or look-alike drug.
- Inadequate opportunity to counsel patients – Pharmacists are so busy that they don’t have time to counsel patients unless they are asked to. Counseling patients is another way for pharmacy mistakes to be caught before patients take the wrong medication or incorrect dosage.
- Illegible handwriting – Some doctors still use handwritten prescriptions, which can be hard to read. If pharmacists guess at the prescription and don’t double check with the doctor, the wrong medicine might be filled.
- Fatigue – Pharmacists are often overworked, which can contribute to fatigue and not being as sharp as possible on the job.
Sometimes pharmacy mistakes at your local CVS in Texas or other chain store pharmacy occur because medications were put away wrong or because they were entered into the computer wrong. Unfortunately, there are so many ways in which prescription mistakes can occur at pharmacies. This is why we urge all customers to double check their prescription when they receive it. By checking the name, strength, color, and instructions, you might be able to save yourself from becoming a victim of a CVS pharmacy mistake.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a pharmacy error, we encourage you to request a FREE copy of our book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.