According to a report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, entitled “Preventing Medication Errors,” approximately 1.5 million drug events occur each year that could have been prevented by accurate prescription labeling.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as individual state governments are trying their best to decrease pharmacy errors and labeling mistakes. However, according to an investigation published in the Journal of the American Pharmacist Association in which the dispensing habits of over 50 pharmacies were documented and averaged, the report suggests that of the annual three billion dispensed prescriptions, a projected 30-million errors occur each year in the United States.
Dangers of Taking Mislabeled Drugs
So is this a big deal? The FDA believes it is, as each one of the 30-million errors could potentially cause extreme risk to those who wind up taking the mislabeled medication. These risks include:
- Taking a different drug than what you thought you were taking – All drugs have varying side effects that could cause extreme disorientation, fatigue, hallucinations, pain, or permanent physical and mental damage.
- Taking a drug with the wrong dosage strength – This could lead to overdosing if the dose is too much, or pain and injury if the dose is too low (heart medication).
- Taking a drug not identified as extended release – This could cause impairments that you’re not accustomed to like blurry vision and fatigue—leading to driving injuries and other accidents.
- Accidentally overdosing – The wrong dosage or medication type could cause you to take more than your body can handle, causing your kidneys and other organs to shut down.
- Experiencing dangerous drug interactions – The drug you accidentally take could have adverse effects when mixed with other medications that you’ve already taken.
- Experiencing unnecessary exposure to toxicity the side effects – Depending on the drug and the dose, you could go into toxic shock and suffer brain damage.
- Not knowing that you didn’t take the drug you actually needed for your health – Mistaking the wrong drug for the correct one can not only cause side effects, but can keep you from getting the benefits you need from the drug you mistakenly didn’t take.
- Depriving someone else of his medication – By taking a mislabeled drug, you could unknowingly keep the actual owner from getting his prescription.
Taking a Stand Against Prescription Errors
Don’t be a victim of a pharmacy’s mistake. Every time that you pick up your prescriptions, double check the labels—and the pills—to make sure they were filled correctly, and the packaging is accurate. Although the pharmacists should be able to be relied upon while doing their jobs, and take extra care and effort while filling patients’ prescriptions, there is no reason that you can’t take the proper precautions to double check their work. Remember, you have more invested in taking the pills, than they have with filling them. Protect yourself - double check your meds.
Need more information about pharmacy error risks and injury claims? Request our free book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors. It has everything you need to know about legitimately filing a claim against a pharmaceutical error.
Need information now? Call us today for a free consultation about your particular situation. We can help you make sense of your experience and advise you on your options to take a stand against those whose mistakes caused you harm. Did you find this article interesting and helpful? Let us know by liking us on Facebook or sharing this page with your friends, family, and loved ones.