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How can drug errors occur?

When you leave the pharmacy with your prescription or take your medication while staying in the hospital, you assume that you have been given the right medication that was prescribed by your physician. Sadly, this is not always the case. Medication errors occur at a surprising rate in Montana and across the United States. There are many opportunities for errors to occur during the prescription filling process, and if one mistake occurs, you may be sent home with the wrong medication.

There are several medical professionals involved in filling your prescription. First, the physician must order the medication, which is then called into the pharmacy by a medical assistant or written for you to take into the pharmacy. Next, the pharmacy technician must then enter in the prescription, which is checked by the pharmacist. During this tedious process, any of the following incidents may occur:

  •          The physician orders the wrong medication for the patient
  •          The medical assistant makes a mistake when calling in the prescription
  •          The pharmacy misfills the prescription with the wrong medication
  •          The wrong dosage of medication is prescribed and/or filled
  •          The patient is given someone else’s prescription

The pharmacist or doctor may also fail to acknowledge a patient’s drug allergy or an adverse interaction that may occur with another medication they are taking. If the patient is given the wrong drug by either the physician or pharmacist, it may cause an adverse reaction as well. All of these mistakes are forms of medical negligence and may cause serious injury and harm to the patient.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Billings, MT 59101

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