7 Questions For Your Pharmacist to Help Prevent Medication Errors

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 3, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Although your doctor and pharmacist are experts in their fields, patients should pay careful attention and ask questions whenever they’re prescribed a medication. Even the best pharmacists make mistakes sometimes, but patients can avoid problems by staying alert and involved in their medical treatment. Here are some questions that you should ask your pharmacist whenever you are picking up a new medication:

1. What is the brand name of this medication? What is the generic name?

The names of some medications sound very similar but might have vastly different effects; pharmacists may accidentally select the wrong one. Pharmacists can also be confused by doctors’ notoriously bad handwriting. Make sure that the medication you receive is the same as the one you discussed with your doctor.

2. What is this medication supposed to do? How long should it take before I see results?

Some medications take effect immediately, while other may take days, weeks, or even months. Pay attention to the effects that you notice and how long they take to appear. If they are significantly different than what you expected, you may have been prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage.

3. What is the dose? What are the instructions for taking it?

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Different doses of medications can have very different effects; many medications can be dangerous if taken at the wrong dose or at the wrong frequency. Clarify the instructions with the pharmacist before leaving with your medication.

4. Does this prescription interact with any other medications that I may be taking? What about over-the-counter drugs?

Some medications can negate each other, or even be dangerous, when combined. Make sure that your doctor is aware of all other medications that you take when writing a prescription for you. The pharmacist can also help inform you about other medications that should not be combined with the medication you are being prescribed, including any over-the-counter drugs.

5. Are there any foods, drinks, medications, or activities I should avoid while taking this?

Many medications cannot be taken with alcohol or other food and drink. Others may inhibit you from doing activities that you normally do. Ask your pharmacist for any instructions or advice.

6. Are there any possible side effects? What should I do if they occur?

Some medications do have normal side effects such as headaches or nausea. However, symptoms like those could be indicators that you have been prescribed the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. Be aware of what to expect, and talk to your pharmacist if you experience unanticipated side effects.

7. What should I do if I miss a dose or accidentally take more than the recommended dose?

We all make mistakes sometimes when taking medicine. This matters more with some medications than others; ask your pharmacist for specific instructions.

Even the most careful patients can fall victim to a medication error. If you have suffered an illness or injury due to a mistake with your prescription, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Anapol Weiss. Our team has a track record of success advocating for victims of medical negligence.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Pharmacy Errors, Medication Errors

Medical Malpractice Involving Drug Errors May be Higher Than Reported

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 13, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Since 1992, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received nearly 30,000 reports of medication errors. As these reports are voluntary, the Agency believes the number of medication errors that actually occur is much higher.

A medication error is "... any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer," according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. The FDA began to dedicate more efforts to reduce medication errors following a 1999 report by Institute of Medicine (IOM) titled, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System." According to the report, more than 7,000 hospital deaths each year are related to medication errors.

FDA Preventing Medication ErrorsPatient Bar Code Labels

One of the strides the FDA has made involves bar code labels. In July 2002, the FDA proposed a new rule requiring bar codes on certain drug and biological product labels. Health care professionals would use bar code scanning equipment to make sure the correct drug, does and route of administration is given to the correct patient at the correct time. The FDA's rule on bar code labeling took effect in April 2004 and applies to prescription drugs, certain biological products, and over-the-counter drugs commonly used in hospitals.

Drug Name Confusion

The FDA reviews about 300 drug names a year before they are marketed in order to minimize confusion regarding drug names that look or sound alike. As a result, about one-third of the names proposed by drug companies are rejected. The FDA then tracks error reports involving drug name confusion after the drugs are approved, alerts health professionals, and provides recommendations for avoiding future problems.

Drug Labeling

In May 2002, an FDA regulation went into effect that aims to help consumers avoid overlooking important label information on over-the-counter drugs. The regulation requires a standardized "Drug Facts" label – modeled after the Nutrition Facts label on foods – on more than 100,000 over-the-counter drug products. The label clearly lists information including the drug’s active ingredients, uses, warnings, dosage and directions.

Getting Legal Help

Despite the efforts of government agencies to reduce medication errors and protect consumers, health care professionals still make deadly medication errors. Any medication mixup or error during the process can have life-threatening consequences – from prescribing drugs to determining dosage to filling prescriptions. When a patient is injured, however, determining fault often involves a complex legal process. Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers have decades of success representing those hurt by medical negligence.

Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you believe you have a medication error lawsuit. The medical malpractice lawyers at Anapol Weiss are committed to ensuring patients and their families get justice.

 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Medication Errors

Can a Pharmacist be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 12, 2016 3:30:00 PM
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Errors can happen at any stage during medication
administration, b
ut there are steps you can take to help
prevent them. Download our free guide. 

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Millions of people in the U.S. trust pharmacists with the task of giving them the correct prescribed medications. Pharmacists’ mistakes can have life-threatening consequences, but when can they be held liable for negligence and professional malpractice?

A pharmacist may be responsible for tasks beyond accurately dispensing the medication, depending on their state’s specific laws. These additional tasks may include:

  • Warning the patient of potential side effects from the medication
  • Screening for medication interactions among multiple prescriptions and possibly contacting the patient’s health care provider to advise them if there may be potential harm
  • Reviewing a patient’s medical history
  • Offering to discuss the patient’s medication and answer related questions

Pharmacists can make a dangerous medication error in several ways. Deviating from a physician’s instructions – such as dispensing incorrect medication or dispensing the wrong strength of the proper medication – can lead to severe health problems for a patient. Further, if a pharmacist notices a possible medication interaction or serious allergy to a certain medication, the pharmacist has a responsibility to refuse to dispense that medication to the patient. The pharmacist would then be expected to contact the patient’s physician or instruct the patient to see the physician again.

Contact Our Firm for Assistance

Pharmacists have a duty to provide patients with the highest quality care at all times. Pharmacy errors can lead to a patient’s death or permanent injury.

Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you were given the wrong medication or were harmed by medical negligence at the hands of a pharmacy. We can investigate your situation and determine if you have a malpractice case.

 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Pharmacy Errors, Medication Errors

Medication Errors Injure 1.5 Million People Each Year

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 23, 2016 1:30:00 PM

Medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes in the United States. Even a small error can have life-threatening consequences for a patient -- and with more than 80% of American adults taking at least one medication, the threat is significant.

report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has estimated that these errors harm at least 1.5 million people every year. A conservative estimate of the added medical costs to treat these medication-related injuries amounts to $3.5 billion a year -- without taking into account lost wages and productivity or additional health care costs, according to the report.

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Even a small medication-related mistake can have life-threatening consequences for a patient. Healthcare providers who prescribe or administer prescription drugs have the responsibility of ensuring individuals receive the proper medication. Those who fail to meet that standard of care must be held accountable for letting someone get hurt.

Contact Anapol Weiss if you or a loved one was harmed by a medication error. Our highly qualified medical malpractice lawyers represent victims of medical errors, and they are prepared to answer any legal questions you may have.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medication Errors

Five Things Patients Can Do to Help Prevent a Medication Error

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 16, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Since 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 95,000 reports of medication errors, which include any preventable event that may lead to inappropriate medication use or harm to a patient.

There are a variety of reasons medication errors occur, including:

  • Miscommunication of drug orders
  • Poor handwriting on prescriptions
  • Confusion of similarly named drugs
  • Poor packaging design
  • Confusion of dosing units

How can patients avoid falling victim to a dangerous medication error? The FDA offers a few simple tips to prevent them before they happen.

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1. Know the medication by name.

Ask for the name of the medication the doctor is going to prescribe. Patients who know the drug’s name are more likely to notice if the pharmacy provides something different.

2. Pay attention to the way the drug looks.

When receiving a refill, look at the medication before leaving the pharmacy to make sure it looks the same as before with regard to packaging, color, size, shape and texture. Ask the pharmacist if anything about the medication seems different.

3. Read the label and ask questions about usage.

It’s important to know how and when to take a specific medication as well as how much to use and how long to use it. Ask about missed doses, taking the medication with or without meals, and possible side effects and interactions. In addition, use the measuring device that comes with the medication.

4. Know what a medication does.

Understanding the purpose of a medication helps patients use it correctly, know what to expect, and know when to report problems.

5. Inform health care providers about all medications and dietary supplements.

Keeping doctors and pharmacists informed about all drugs – including vitamins and herbal supplements – helps prevent dangerous interactions or taking medications with the same active ingredient. Make a list of all current medications and tell a loved one. In the event of an emergency, that person would be able to inform doctors.

Sadly, even careful patients can suffer the consequences of a medication error. Prescribers and pharmacists have the responsibility of ensuring individuals receive the right medication – and that includes the correct type, dosage, number of doses, and other factors. Those who fail to meet that standard of care must be held accountable for letting someone get hurt.

Contact our firm for assistance if you or a loved one was harmed by a medication error. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing victims of medical errors, and they are prepared to answer any legal questions you may have.

For additional information on how you can help prevent medication errors, click on the download link below.

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Stephen Pokiniewski is a medical malpractice attorney at Anapol Weiss.  He is considered an expert in managed care lawsuits and has represented clients in landmark cases involving ERISA pre-exemption and the ability to sue HMOs.  Stephen has also secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for the victims of medical malpractice including those injured during birth.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Medication Errors

Medication Errors Resulting from Pharmacy Mistakes

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jan 8, 2016 11:30:00 AM

pharmacy_errors.jpgMillions of people trust pharmacists every day to fill their medications, but adults and children have been killed by pharmacy errors after being sent home with the incorrect drug or dose.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are sometimes pressured to move quickly in order to fill a long list of prescriptions. Unfortunately, it’s the unsuspecting patients who suffer the consequences when pharmacy errors result from too much haste.

Prescription Interaction Problems

Interactions between medications can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. Even taking over-the-counter drugs with prescriptions can cause severe adverse reactions. Physicians and pharmacists should always be aware and notify patients of any possible interactions that could occur between the prescription medications they are taking. These interactions are sometimes overlooked, which can create a deadly situation for patients.

Filing Lawsuits for Pharmacy Errors

The medical malpractice lawyers at Anapol Weiss are committed to ensuring patients and their families get justice for injuries caused by preventable medication errors due to pharmacy mistakes. If it happened to you or a loved one, contact our firm for assistance.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Pharmacy Errors, Medication Errors

Why Medication Errors Must be Reported

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jan 7, 2016 11:51:12 AM

Medication error reporting is an important action to take when a person is injured as a result of a medical mistake. After victims and their families alert the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the problem, they are urged to also protect their legal rights.

reporting_medication_errors.jpgMedication errors, according to the FDA, may involve:

  • Incorrect procedures including prescribing errors
  • Order miscommunications
  • Product labeling or packaging errors
  • Health care product defects
  • Monitoring issues and more

Between 2000 and 2009, the FDA received more than 95,000 medication error reports in the agency's adverse event reporting program called MedWatch. The importance of reporting these errors cannot be underestimated. A person could be preventing something terrible from happening to someone else.

Medical Error Reporting and Getting Justice

A mistake during any part of the medication process can be deadly – from prescribing drugs to determining dosage to filling prescriptions. Anyone who controls a patient’s medication should take responsibility when they negligently let a person get hurt.

While it’s reasonably simple to report a medication error to the FDA, determining who is at fault can be very difficult for a patient to do alone. Our medical malpractice lawyers have decades of success representing those hurt by medical negligence.

Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you or a loved one was injured as a result of a medication error.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medication Errors

Medication Errors are a Nationwide Problem

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jan 6, 2016 3:30:00 PM

medication_errors_-_vert.jpgMedication errors can kill or severely injure a person. Even a simple medical mistake can have life-threatening consequences.

About 82 percent of adults in the U.S. take at least one medication, and 29 percent take five or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adverse drug events – meaning patient harm resulting from a medication – account for nearly 700,000 emergency department visits each year.

Medication errors may occur as a result of:

  • Incorrect procedures
  • Order miscommunications
  • Patient monitoring issues
  • Product labeling or packaging errors
  • Product defects

Patients who were injured by a medication error are urged to report the problem to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which works closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address drug safety issues.

Protecting victims' legal rights is also very important. It may be difficult to determine alone exactly what happened and who is responsible, but one this is clear: health care professionals must be held accountable when their negligence hurts another person. Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Anapol Weiss if you or a loved one may have been a victim of a medication error.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medication Errors

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