While there are many advantages of going through a pharmacy drive-thru—such as saving time, not having to wake up your kids to go inside, and not having to stand in line—there are also major disadvantages of pharmacy drive-thrus—especially to your health. Did you know that many medication mistakes occur at the pharmacy drive-thru?
Lead study author Sheryl Szeinbach and her colleagues of Ohio State’s College of Pharmacy surveyed 429 U.S. pharmacists about working pharmacy drive-thrus, and their findings were published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care. What they discovered was that pharmacists themselves believe that window service is associated with the following:
- Dispensing errors
- Communication errors
- Reduced efficiency
- Processing delays
Large pharmacies like CVS and others, are known for their convenient drive-thru windows, but consumers who use these windows might be jeopardizing their own health. The reason? Pharmacists and pharmacy techs who work the drive-thru windows are constantly interrupted and distracted, which is why it is easy for them to make medication mistakes.
“The drive-through window, overall, poses a huge problem with respect to causing dispensing errors,” said Szeinbach. “The link between drive-though and dispensing errors alone should be a concern to the public.”
With the large amounts of prescriptions pharmacists and technicians fill on a daily basis, pharmacists and pharmacy techs should have as few distractions as possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The presence of the drive-thru window alone is distracting to pharmacists and causes pharmacy staff to multitask and move as fast as possible. When a pharmacist is trying to give a customer medication quickly, there is a chance of error. As a result, customers should avoid using pharmacy drive-thru windows and instead go inside the pharmacy.
When picking up your prescription, it is best to have a pharmacist consultation. You should also read the drug name and information on the label. It is also a good idea to take the pills out of the bottle and look at them. You really cannot do this very well from the front seat of your car. For this reason, it is critical that next time you visit your local CVS pharmacy that you go into a pharmacy instead of going through the pharmacy drive-thru.
If you were harmed as a result of a CVS pharmacy error at the drive-thru or at the counter, feel free to order a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.