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Prevention steps to stop pharmaceutical error

Medicines are powerful and potent chemicals. They have the power to reverse illness, relieve symptoms and the power to cause harm if administered incorrectly. Under-staffing, rushing and technological errors are all contributing factors to pharmaceutical errors. In Rhode Island, a pharmacist is responsible to dispense medications properly so the patient is not harmed. If a pharmaceutical error is a concern for a pharmacist, he or she may wish to utilize some prevention strategies to avoid patient injury. 

Pharmacy mistakes, including prescribing the wrong medicine, giving the wrong dosage, failing to identify drug interactions, failing to advise about harmful side effects and marketing unsafe medications, are caused by several reasons. An understaffed pharmacy that is trying to fill many prescriptions runs the risk of error, so pharmacies should ensure that they have enough staff available to give appropriate time and attention to the workload. Poor communication between pharmacists and doctors is another chance for errors, as well as over-reliance on technology. 

Within the pharmacy, pharmacists can ensure that they are training and supervising any techs to reduce mistakes. A basic double-checking system can go a long way also toward keeping individuals safe. Pharmacies can also strive to provide patient counseling to educate individuals on side effects and interactions. 

A pharmaceutical error can cause serious consequences, up to and including death. If such an error is traced to the negligence of the pharmacist, that person may be responsible for any injury that occurs. In Rhode Island, people who feel that they or someone they know has been the victim of a drug mix-up may choose to consult an attorney to explore their options for seeking awards for any damages. 

Source:, "Preventing Medication Errors in Pharmacy", Michelle Woods, Sept. 20, 2017

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