There are certain things pharmacies do to ensure that they are giving the right prescription to the right person. When pharmacists and pharmacy technicians fail to follow procedures, patients can easily receive the wrong medication. Because there are many people who have a similar name to another patient at the pharmacy, pharmacy staff members are supposed to take certain steps before handing out a prescription in order to avoid a prescription mix-up.
Some of the steps pharmacy staff members should do include:
- Check a customer’s ID
- Verify a customer’s name and address
- Ask for a customer’s date of birth
How These Pharmacy Mistakes Happen
Pharmacies need to verify all customers’ identities before handing out medication to any customer. Even in the event a customer is having another person pick up his or her medication, a pharmacist should still ask to verify the customer’s name and address to ensure the right prescription is handed out instead of the wrong one. When a pharmacist or the cashier is too busy or simply fails to follow policy, a customer can suffer the results of receiving the wrong medication, including medicine intended for another pharmacy customer.
Many people have the same last name or a similarly spelled name that creates confusion behind the pharmacy counter. If a cashier or pharmacist just grabs the prescription that has been waiting there without closely reading the customer label, someone with a similar, yet different, name could receive the wrong drugs.
Sometimes these mistakes are caught in time by a pharmacist who counsels a patient; however, there have been far too many instances in which customers are given prescription medicine intended for another person. When this happens, a person can suffer serious long-term side effects of receiving the wrong medicine.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
If a pharmacist does not ask for your date of birth or address to confirm your identity, you may need to be your own advocate. Be proactive and tell the cashier or pharmacist your date of birth. Also, check the label before leaving the pharmacy to confirm your name is on the medication label. It is always a wise idea to ask to review the medicine with the pharmacist. This way, it will give a pharmacist the opportunity to catch a mistake, if one has been made.
If you suffered injuries from receiving the wrong medication, please call Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P. at 888-526-7616 and speak with a pharmacy error lawyer to find out about your rights. You will receive a free consultation and a FREE copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.