Tag Archives: pharmaceutical mistakes

Medication Quality Control | Proficient Rx

Increasing Safety Through Medication Quality Control Via Repacking

Because you care so much for your patients and their overall health, you would be devastated to learn that a medication you prescribed did them harm. They weren’t harmed because of anything you did. They weren’t harmed by anything the patient did. Instead, they were harmed by the medication they received at the pharmacy. Incidents like this do happen.  And with the increasing numbers of patients who need medication, the more errors are likely to occur without additional medication quality control.

Common Medication Errors in Pharmacies

Pharmacists never intentionally make medication errors. They are accidents. These accidents include getting similar looking medications mixed up. Meaning, the patient receives a medicine that resembles their own medication in appearance, but not ingredients.

Another example of an error is when patients are accidentally given someone else’s prescription. Furthermore, giving a patient the wrong dose of the right medicine is more common than you think.

All these errors can be fatal.

Accidents such as these have prompted the creation of new packaging formats with better medication quality control. Repackaged medication is becoming very popular.

What is Quality Control of Repackaged Medicine?

Repackaged medications mean a manufacturer’s supply of medications are sent in bulk to a packaging facility and then are transferred into smaller containers or packages to make it easier for a patient to use.

Repackaging companies purchase medicines in bulk. They then use more convenient and safe packaging to provide more structured doses.

Some packages are made for unit dosing. Meaning, one pill is accessible at a time. The packaging is labeled so the patient does not get confused as to when they are supposed to take their medicine.

When a company does everything it can to make sure a product or drug is in top quality condition, they are practicing medication quality control.  They put the drug through processes and experiments to make sure errors are non-existent.

Both manufacturers and packagers take extra steps to maintain this quality with each drug, making consistency a reality within a drug class.

Medication quality control involves all the actions a company takes to make sure medicines are pure, safe and compliant with all laws and regulations.

Medication quality control is important for many reasons. Keep reading to find out why quality control is a must when providing medicine for your patients.


There are multiple medication quality control processes involved to ensure safety for patients. Keep reading to find out more about how safety is increased by quality control of repackaged medications.

Medication Quality Control to Prevent Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting mostly happens online, when unethical manufacturers try to pass on illegal forms of medication to consumers. This is a serious crime with severe penalties that will be enforced by the Federal Drug Administration.

Counterfeit drugs usually have the wrong ingredients or the wrong doses of the right ingredients. Both are dangerous for patients.

Repackaged medications undergo medication quality control processes that prevent counterfeiting.

Drugs are registered, making it many times harder for counterfeit criminals to manufacture and deal the product.

Inspectors who participate in extensive training and work for repackaging companies, can identify counterfeit pharmaceuticals. They can then file the right complaints or assist in taking legal actions against the counterfeit criminals.

Medication Quality Control Compliance

Both the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Drug Administration have regulations and medication quality control assurances that repackaging companies must follow.

If repackaging companies fail to adhere to the regulations, they are warned, inspected and eventually shut down and prevented from operating. Repackaging companies are expected to provide documentation and visual proof that all regulations are being met.

The World Health Organization sets forth dispensing guidelines that must be followed by the physician and practice staff. Repackaging companies make it easy for doctors to comply with these guidelines, which cover the entire process from writing the prescription to handing medicine to the patient.

Closure Quality Control

The containers used at the repackaging company must prove to be better than the original container from the manufacturer.

The new containers must abide by moisture, light, vapors, and sealant regulations.

Repackaging companies are experts in containers and the standards set forth for protecting medicine.

All of this means the children and young family members of your patients will not be able to open medication containers that may be left lying around the house. These containers passing medication quality control procedures make it safer for everyone.

So, not only is your patient protected, but so are their children.

Quality Control of Narcotics

Controlled substances are being abused daily by patients, even some of your patients. They overtake their medication, they sell them on the street or trade them for their drug of choice.

Controlled substances are also abused by manufacturers who want to use them for illegal purposes.

Repackaging of narcotics and other controlled substances has very strict medication quality control processes. Controlled substances are coded and labeled. Meaning, they are traceable all the way back to the manufacturer.

This provides you and your patients with the reassurance that if a medication is stolen or misused, it can be tracked to verify where the medicine originated and for whom or what it was intended.

Environmental Quality Control

Repackaging facilities must follow strict guidelines when it comes to keeping their environment clean. Pharmacies are not held to the standards repackaging facilities are required to follow. From room temperature to how often and with what counters are cleaned.

It makes you wonder just how often busy pharmacists take the time to clean their sorting and compounding counters during a day. Germs transfer from one site to another, from one medication to another.

Repackaging medications prevents this from happening due to the medication quality control environmental safety measures that must be followed.

In addition to these measures, quality control of repackaging facilities includes security tactics including cameras and personnel. Monitoring is controlled with the use of state of the art computerized technology.

Because of the many medication quality control processes of repackaging facilities, you can feel confident prescribing repackaged medication to your patients because they go above and beyond ordinary standards.


Avoid Wrong Medication | Proficient Rx

What Happens if a Pharmacy Gives the Wrong Medication?

The results of a pharmacy getting the wrong medication can be devastating, and even fatal. A Johns Hopkins Medical report claims medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America.

Medication errors account for more than one million emergency room visits each year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

What Are Medication Errors?

A medication error is defined as any event that can be prevented but due to error on the part of the physician, pharmacist or patient, causes harm to the patient.

Such errors can happen due to labeling or packaging errors. Errors can also happen due to compounding, pharmacist dispensing, and even the education provided to the patient from the pharmacy staff.

Pharmacists are busy. They receive hundreds of orders every day from patients who want their prescriptions filled immediately. Because of this type of pressure, it is easy for a pharmacist to miss the mark in various stages of the prescription filling process and hand out the wrong medication or otherwise mess up.

Patient Can Have a Negative Reaction

Pharmacists can accidentally get medicines mixed up. Some medicines have similar sounding names. Some have similar shape, size and colors. When compounding and sorting multiple medicines on the same counter, mix-ups can happen and the wrong medication could be given.

Accidents like these can lead to allergic reactions in patients who trust the pharmacist to get it right.

Allergic reactions can vary from person to person. Hives and rashes can appear on some people who are dealing with a negative reaction. Some may get a high fever, while others may feel their airways swelling or closing from the wrong medication.

Nausea, vomiting, itchiness and coughing are signs to watch for. They will be quite noticeable, making you feel very uncomfortable.

Wheezing and difficulty breathing are more serious symptoms of an allergic reaction. It is important to get medical treatment immediately for any of your reactions, especially to avoid an overdose from the wrong medication or amount.

Patient Can Overdose

Overdose means to take too much of a substance. In this case, it means a patient taking too much of a prescription medicine. When learning about overdoses, you must understand that to overdose, there must be a dose that is first considered safe.

The prescribed dose is the amount the doctor feels will be most effective for treating the patient’s ailment. If someone takes more than the base dose, overdose can become a reality.

Overdoses can be intentional, accidental or due to pharmacist error.

An overdose can happen when a patient takes a higher dose of a medication than they should have. An overdose can also happen when a patient takes the wrong medication, thinking it was the right medicine. Furthermore, an overdose can happen when a patient takes too many medications.

All these are often mistakes created at the pharmacy.

Whether the pharmacist misread the doctor’s prescription or put a label on the medicine with a typo, overdoses do take place way more often than they should.

Patient Can Die

There are several cases in which a patient has been given the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medicine by a pharmacist and it has lead to their death.  On top of all the pain and heartache this creates, it also sets up a pharmacist for a major lawsuit.

Take the case of a young boy who was given the wrong medication by a pharmacy that was 1,000 times higher than prescribed. Errors like this are devastating for everyone involved. It is devastating because these errors are preventable.

How to Avoid Wrong Medication 7 Other Errors

It is becoming more and more clear that dispensing at the point of care is the safest way to help patients receive the right medication at the right dose for treatment.

Physician dispensing is becoming popular across the nation and patients are feeling the love. This is a convenient and practical service your patients appreciate. In-office dispensing has many benefits.

The most noticeable benefit is safety and reduction in medication errors including the wrong medication or wrong strength.

Physicians can prescribe medications and fill those prescriptions using prepackaged medication, which arrives in individual doses contained in blister packaging for added safety.

Prepackaged medication can be ordered for the specific amount of medicine needed versus getting a bottle full of pills that make it easier for a patient to take more than needed.

Other Safety Benefits of Doctor Dispensing

Storing and accessing prepackaged medicines are easy for you. When you prescribe a prescription, you simply retrieve it from a locked cabinet in your office. The next step is for you to print the label.

Ensuring information is correct on the label is very easy to do when prescribing at the point of care. The information you enter into the computer is automatically printed according to compliance laws in order to avoid giving out the wrong medication or wrong instructions. To further safety, the computer software can alert you if there are interactions between medications.

It makes you verify the information before printing. And because you have hundreds less prescriptions to fill, you have the time to make this effort a priority.

The software can also alert you to when refills are needed for a patient. This ensures they are not missing any doses and having a lapse in treatment.

avoid pharmaceutical error | Proficient Rx

Prepackaged Medication to Avoid Pharmaceutical Error

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.

Cleaner Medicines

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.





Pharmaceutical Mistakes | Proficient Rx

Pharmaceutical Mistakes That Can Be Made by Pharmacies

Recent reports show there are around 280,000 pharmacists in American and around 390,000 pharmacy technicians. That is a lot of people who are bound to make pharmaceutical mistakes occasionally. That said, it is hard to find solid statistics on exactly how many pharmaceutical mistakes are made by pharmacy staff.

One study examined 142,000 medications prescribed by hospital pharmacies. Of those, 3.6 percent contained errors. And 24 percent of those errors would have caused adverse effects.

Pharmacies are fallible, just like everything and everyone else. Unfortunately, when  pharmaceutical mistakes happen, it can mean danger for a patient.

There are often stories about a pharmacy giving one patient the medicines that belong to another patient. Or, a pharmacist misreads a prescription and doesn’t bother to double check with the prescribing physician, giving the wrong medicine or dose to a patient.

While it is impossible to prevent all pharmaceutical mistakes, there should be measures put into place to reduce the number of errors. Measures could include more training for pharmaceutical technicians, better organization systems and better communications with physicians. Another measure could be to provide prescriptions at the doctor’s office rather than sending to the pharmacy.

Keep reading to learn more about common errors made in the pharmacy.

Pharmaceutical Mistakes – Dispensing the Wrong Drug

There have been recent cases in the news reporting pharmacists dispensing the wrong drug. The results were fatal.

Pharmacists are busy, it is easy to make pharmaceutical mistakes like this when you are dispensing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of medications each day.

Many times, pharmaceutical technicians are assisting in filling a prescription. They are less qualified than a pharmacist, increasing room for error.

Because some medicines are similar in shape, color and size, pharmacists confuse one drug for the other.

Not only is dispensing the wrong drug a problem, but dispensing the wrong dosage of the right medicine.

Dispensing the Wrong Dosage

Different patients are affected by different dosages. A large adult male may need a higher dose than a small petite woman taking the same medicine. If a pharmacist dispenses a dose that is too high, a person can overdose.

Pharmacists make mistakes when it comes to delivering the wrong dose of medication to patients.

If a pharmacist dispenses a dose that is too low, a person may not benefit from any of the effects of the medicine. If the effects of the medicine are to keep blood from clotting or decrease blood pressure, there could be serious negative consequences if their dose is too low.

Miscommunication Between Pharmacists and Physicians

There are times when pharmacists receive a prescription from a doctor that is hard to read. Or, the doctor is prescribing a medication without knowledge that the patient is on a drug, given by a different doctor, that will interact.

When this happens, pharmacists need to contact the physician to verify the prescription details and inform them of all the medications a patient is taking. This gives the physician an opportunity to change the prescription, if needed.

In our rushed society, and with the hundreds of orders needing to be filled each day, pharmacists seem reluctant to contact the physician. However, by not contacting the physician, errors happen and the patients are the ones who suffer.

Failure to Protect Against Harmful Drug Interactions

Often, patients have different doctors who are prescribing different medications. It is not uncommon that the prescribing physicians know nothing about one another. The patient does not always make this information available, whether intentional or not.

The pharmacist is the central person who knows all the drugs being taken by the patient. Errors occur when a pharmacist fails to track this information or even worse, when they know of drug interactions but fail to contact the doctor or warn patients.

This becomes dangerous when medications which, if taken at the same time, cause the medications to be less effective or to increase the desired effects. There are some side effects that can create health hazards and even death.

Pharmacists can also fail to check if the patient has drug allergies that may cause reactions.Medicines that are synthetic consist of multiple ingredients. Patents may have allergies to the ingredients used to hold a pill together. Or, they may be allergic to the gel that makes caps.

A pharmacist who does not take the time to verify patient allergies could cause the patient to have a negative reaction when taking their prescription.

Failure to Provide Adequate Counseling

There is a direct connection between patients adhering to their medicine regimens when they receive counseling from the pharmacist. So why isn’t every pharmacist providing counseling?

Cashiers at the pharmacy ask customers if they have questions. What they don’t realize is that patients feel pressured to pay for their medicines and get out of the way of the next patient in line who is impatiently waiting.

In addition, customers do not like providing personal information unless it is in a confidential setting. Standing in line at the pharmacy is not confidential.

Sometimes, pharmacists are simply negligent in providing counseling.

Because pharmacies are so busy, most people do not feel comfortable monopolizing the time of a pharmacist, even when they do have questions.

Patients are given written information, a lot of it, to read when they have time. However, most patients do not take the time to read this information. It contains a lot of data that the ordinary person doesn’t understand.

In addition, when people are ill, the last thing they want to do is read ten pages about the drug they are taking.

Most patients leave with their prescription, go home, and take the medicine according to what it says on the bottle. Or, they avoid taking their medication altogether due to frustration and confusion.

This needs to be fixed. It is up to the pharmacist to make sure patients understand their medicines before they leave the pharmacy.

There are ways to avoid all these errors. They include having the physician dispense the medications directly to their patients at the point of care.

In office dispensing provides patients with a chance to discuss their prescriptions with the physician in a private setting. Because the physician is only dispensing to their patients, a much lighter case load than a pharmacist, fewer errors will occur.

Using in-office dispensing software programs and prepackaged medication provides an extra layer of safety and is easy for the physician and qualified staff to quickly deliver the prescription to the patient.

Providing the best patient care is the goal of physicians and medical staff.Patients benefit the most when they can get their medicine at the point of care.