We count on our doctors and pharmacists to prescribe and administer prescriptions designed to keep us healthy or heal from an injury. However, prescription errors can occur at any stage in the medical process and cause serious harm. A doctor may prescribe the wrong drug, the wrong prescription could be sent to a pharmacy, or a pharmacist may dispense the wrong medication.
Attempts to reduce prescription errors
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they receive over 100,000 reports yearly involving a potential medication error, many of which are prescription errors. There are many rules and regulations intended to prevent these errors from occurring. For example, a barcode system is used by medical professionals to verify the right prescription is being given to the right patient.
Drugs are also packaged according to their use. Medications meant to be taken orally should be packaged differently than medications that are to be used on the body. An incorrect prescription that results in a medication being provided in the wrong form could mean you ingest something you should not.
Lower your chance of a prescription error
As a patient there are many things you can do to increase your chances of getting the right prescription. Do not be afraid to ask your doctor exactly what is being prescribed to you, what it does, and about any risks or benefits. Make sure you understand all directions and if you do not, keep asking for clarification until you do.
Learn as much as you can about the drug you are prescribed and always read the label before taking a new medication. Make sure the label matches the medication that was prescribed. Research potential side effects, and if you experience any that are severe or uncommon, tell your doctor.
Even if you take all appropriate safety measures to ensure you are receiving your correct medications, medical negligence could occur from a prescription error at any stage of the process. Proving negligence can be challenging, so it is a good idea to speak with a professional before initiating a claim.