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Pharmacists Admit to Making Dispensing Errors

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Posted on Dec 18, 2012

According to a new survey, the Salary Survey 2012 conducted and published by Chemist and Druggist, nine out of ten pharmacists have admitted to making dispensing errors during the past year. Shockingly, this equates to 90 percent of pharmacists making dispensing errors.

Additionally, Chemist and Druggist also released findings showing that community pharmacists who are branch managers and non-manager pharmacists have admitted to making an average of four dispensing errors over the course of a year. Findings of this survey include the following:

  • The average number of dispensing errors was 4 per year.
  • 5 percent of pharmacists make more than 10 dispensing errors annually.
  • 1 in 20 of the 750 respondents reported they had made more than ten errors a year.
  • 54 percent of pharmacists blame workforce pressures for the increase in dispensing errors.

Pharmacists criticize these findings, stating that only four errors per year, out of thousands of prescriptions per month, is a low margin of error. Others believe that these findings aren’t entirely true and that most pharmacists make more drug errors than what this survey reveals. What about the pharmacy errors that are not discovered or reported? Because of this, no one really knows the exact number of dispensing errors that take place each year.

There have been several surveys and studies focused on dispensing errors and the frequency that these errors occur. Interestingly enough, most studies have shown a higher error rate than what this survey has found.

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