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Pharmacy Technician Prepares the Wrong Prescription, More Common Than You Think

David W. Hodges
Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law

Pharmacists are increasingly relying on pharmacy technicians to fill prescriptions. While most pharmacies have double and even triple checks in place to catch mistakes made by technicians, sometimes errors get passed over by busy pharmacists and the wrong medication reaches unsuspecting patients.

When pharmacy errors occur because of technicians, pharmacists are usually the ones who suffer the consequences, and patients are the ones who pay the price.

According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, about 30 million dispensing errors occur out of the three billion prescriptions that are filled. Dispensing errors commonly occur when:

  • Pharmacy technicians get a patient’s name wrong, resulting in the incorrect patient receiving the prescription.
  • Pharmacy technicians dispense the wrong drug because they didn’t read the prescription carefully. They may confuse it with a drug that has a similar name or is similar in appearance.
  • Pharmacy technicians substitute one medication for another drug without calling a patient’s doctor.
  • Pharmacy technicians dispense medication that has expired, which can cause harm or not be effective once the drug is past its expiration date.
  • Pharmacy technicians fill the wrong medication because they misinterpret a doctor’s handwriting.

Whether because they are overworked, tired, distracted, or negligent, pharmacy technicians have caused patients to become ill or worse die, due to allergic reactions or overdose.

What if a pharmacy technician prepared a fatal dose of medication?

In the case of fatal error, the pharmacist will pay the consequences of the technician’s mistake; a pharmacist is supposed to check each and every prescription for accuracy before it reaches the patient’s hands. The penalty could be prison time, a large fine, and/or revocation of his or her license. Depending on the situation, the technician may not even incur a fine or other penalty.

Most pharmacy malpractice errors occur because pharmacy technicians are too busy, distracted, overworked, or lack training. And when pharmacists are too busy or distracted to double check the medicines against the prescriptions, disaster can occur.

If you were a victim of pharmacy malpractice caused by a negligent pharmacy technician or pharmacist, you need to call Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P. at 888-526-7616 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable Texas pharmacy malpractice lawyer to find out your rights regarding a wrong medication lawsuit. Additionally, we will provide you with a FREE copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.