Picture this, a 71-year-old woman visits her doctor. She receives a prescription for hypertension. She takes her prescription to the pharmacy, they fill it and the lady takes this prescription for the next three months.
After three months and a myriad of brand new symptoms including tremors, mood swings and ambulatory dysfunction, the lady returns to her doctor. Here she learns she was given the wrong type of medicine at the pharmacy.
Instead of medicine for hypertension, she was given an anti-psychotic medication. This is a true story.
Pharmacies have been making errors for many years, yet there doesn’t seem to be many consequences. Instead, the numbers of people needing prescriptions continues to rise. This means pharmacies hire more and more pharmacy technicians who are well-meaning, but are also not as qualified to fill prescriptions.
The number of errors in pharmacies increases by the year, and both caregivers and consumers want better ways to avoid pharmaceutical error.
Pharmacy Error Statistics
Medication errors are increasing each year. Astoundingly, over 1.3 million people are injured each year due to medication errors. Even worse, around 100,000 of these people will die. This makes it imperative to avoid pharmaceutical error wherever possible.
These are only the errors that are reported since it is not a requirement to report such injuries.
These errors cost billions of dollars, not including the costs that are then associated with additional medical care to treat the error.
The use of prepackaged medication can help you avoid pharmaceutical error through quality control.
Avoid Pharmaceutical Error With Drug Interactions
Pharmacists rarely take the time to talk to patients about drug interactions. In fact, an undercover investigation by the news show 20/20 revealed that 70 percent of the pharmacies they visited did not take the time to tell patients about potentially harmful interactions.
Patients do not realize just how many dangerous drug interactions there are. They trust you and the pharmacy to give them this information. If you are relying on the pharmacist to explain interactions to your patients, you will be disappointed. And your patients may suffer the consequences.
Some of the consequences can be allergic reactions, physical and mental health issues, and even death. It’s sad to think about when just giving the information a patient needs can help avoid pharmaceutical error.
Prepackaged medications come complete with drug interaction information on the packaging. You can compare patient medications and print any interaction information from the software technology in order to avoid pharmaceutical error in drug interactions.
Avoid Drug Confusion
Some drugs look alike. Some drugs look identical. Pharmacists and their technicians get pills confused, causing harm to the patients who take the medications.
Pharmacies receive pills in bulk from a manufacturer and are required to separate them, at the same time they are separating many other medicines. This makes it easy for them to make mistakes.
Prepackaged medication can completely avoid pharmaceutical error because the pills are separated in pouches. The manufacturer sends them to the prepackaging company, who then separates them individually.
Cross-contamination can happen. People do not realize this but medicines can be handled by pharmacy technicians and pharmacists that can pass germs to their medicines. While many pharmaceutical staff wear gloves, they do not change gloves often.
Germs and bacteria can travel a distance through sneezing and coughing. These germs can land on the preparation table where staff are working, where medicines are placed.
Prepackaged medications prevent germs from getting onto medicines. The prepackaging companies have state of the art equipment that must pass federal and state laws surrounding cleanliness that help avoid pharmaceutical error.
Lack of Communication Between Pharmacy and Doctor
Not all pharmacists can read the penmanship of every doctor. Being faced with hundreds of customers a day, it is rare that a pharmacist will contact a doctor to consult with them about the prescription. What do they do instead? They guess.
They may ask your patient what they are being treated for but to avoid making a patient mad, running behind, and getting overwhelmed, pharmacists do their best to figure out what the prescription says on their own. Eliminating this guesswork is a good way to avoid pharmaceutical error
Furthermore, there are times when a pharmacist does recognize an interaction and thinks the doctor may have made a mistake. But instead of contacting you with their concerns, they fill the prescription anyway.
This is a dangerous way to fill prescriptions.
Prepackaged medication eliminates the need to communicate with pharmacists altogether and removes another step of the process where something could go wrong, helping to avoid pharmaceutical error.
Prepackaged medications come in safety packs with easy to understand instructions. They are assembled in laboratories that follow extremely strict guidelines set forth by the Federal Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
When you no longer need to use the services of a pharmacy, you eliminate any potential dangers for your patients. You have more input, control and assurance that your patients are being given the right medicine, at the right dosage.
Overall, this means your patients receive better healthcare and improved outcomes.