With a constant influx of prescriptions that need to be filled and a steady line of customers at the counter and the drive thru, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians tend to be busy all throughout the work day. With such hectic schedules, it can be challenging to maintain quality and accuracy. When precision is a critical requirement of what you do, even a simple mistake can lead to significant consequences.
There are many reasons a pharmacist or pharmacy technician can be distracted, become bored on the job, or demonstrate a lack of concern for customer safety. But most pharmacy workers operate with their customers’ safety in mind and double and triple check every prescription they dispense, regardless of a busy or chaotic work environment.
However, there are many logistical obstacles that pharmacists and technicians face that can increase the risk of errors. In a given work day, employees are typically tasked with:
- Organizing medication
- Sorting and filling drugs
- Verifying drug type and quantity
- Choosing the correct container and packaging
- Labeling recently-filled medications and checking them for accuracy
- Increasing efficiency of work and reducing costs to employers
The additional tasks that employees are required to perform, such as managing drive thrus, dealing with unhappy or exceptionally inquisitive customers, answering phone calls, and processing new orders can cause employees to feel distracted, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted during their shifts, increasing the probability of mistakes.
Task Repetition May Cause Decline in Attention to Detail
A pharmacy worker’s job can sometimes be repetitive in nature. A mistake such as misreading a prescription or reaching for a drug with a similar name could result from performing the same task over and over. These employees who do repetitive work can also misread a decimal point in a prescription, or pharmacists may miss a labeling error because they feel overly familiar with the medication. Similarly, pharmacists may send a customer home with incorrect instructions on a prescription label causing incorrect dosing.
How to Help Prevent Pharmacy Errors
There are countless reasons why pharmacists and pharmacy technicians could make medication mistakes causing injuries to customers. And just a simple mistake could result in an overdose, toxicity, poisoning, and even death. This is why it’s critical that you double check your prescription when you pick it up at any pharmacy. If you have any questions about your prescription, ask your pharmacist before taking the medication.
To reduce the risk of errors, pharmacies can implement better processes that emphasize safety and attention to detail. They can also better train their pharmacy technicians and can mandate that pharmacists spend time with each customer and review each prescription before releasing it. Pharmacies can also consider increasing the number of staff members working at a given time to allow their employees time to check for quality and accuracy in the prescriptions they fill and the interactions they have with customers.
We Can Help
Most pharmacy errors are unintentional, but they do happen. If you’re a victim of pharmacy negligence, we encourage you to seek medical attention immediately, and then contact us. The pharmacy can be held accountable for medical expenses, lost wages, attorney fees, physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, and wrongful death. If you believe that you have a claim, you can download our free e-book, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors, to learn more about filing a lawsuit to receive compensation for damages.