It’s horrific to think that a pharmacy mistake could cause infants or children an even bigger health problem than the physical condition they were coming to the pharmacy for in the first place. Sadly, many children have suffered serious injuries—even fatal injuries—as a result of pharmacy errors.
Little Julian Cameron, a nine-week-old, nine pound infant, was diagnosed with RSV and was prescribed Albuterol by his doctor. Julian’s mother Anna Cameron picked up the medicine from her local Florida pharmacy and gave her son the dose as instructed on the label. According to an ABC report, she repeated the process as instructed, and stated she “could tell he was just really jittery, antsy, hyper and his heart was beating really fast.”
The next day the pharmacy called her and told her to stop giving the medication to her son. As a result of this pharmacy error, a small child needlessly suffered harm. Little Julian received the wrong dosage due to the wrong instructions that were placed on the bottle. In fact, he received four times the dose of medicine he was supposed to have gotten—a potentially lethal dose. This was just one example of a kids-related pharmacy error that occurs across Florida frequently.
The Sad Truth About Florida Pharmacy Errors
Of the 235 million prescriptions written in the Sunshine State annually, there is about a 0.09 percent error rate. This amount of pharmacy errors equates to about 212,000 mishaps every year and about 580 errors a day. Because Florida is the third highest in the nation for the amount of prescriptions filled at pharmacies per day, it makes consumers in this state more vulnerable to pharmacy mistakes. The truth of the matter is that the more prescriptions filled increases the number of mistakes made by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
Part of the reason why so many mistakes are made behind the pharmacy counter is due to pharmacy technicians who are filling adult and children’s prescriptions and doing other tasks that pharmacists should be doing. “A lot of those issues involve prescriptions filled by pharmacy technicians, who have only a fraction of the training required of pharmacists, but are allowed to perform almost all of their tasks,” said retired pharmacist, past president of the Florida Pharmacy Association, and former Florida board of pharmacy member, Bob Parrado.
Now a proposed law could increase a technician’s responsibilities and allow more of the work at pharmacies to be performed by pharmacy techs. According an ABC news report, the new legislation proposes to double the number of pharmacy technicians from three to six per pharmacist. This means that there will only be one pharmacist overseeing and signing off on the prescriptions six pharmacy techs fill—potentially leading to an increase in pharmacy mistakes.
We will keep our readers updated on the progress of this bill, and would encourage all parents to seek consultations with pharmacists in hopes of catching any mistakes pharmacists failed to spot earlier. We urge you to share this article with your family and friends on Facebook so that more people are aware of just how widespread pharmacy mistakes really are in hopes of preventing unnecessary errors.