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2 workplace issues that could lead to serious pharmacy errors

For members of the general public in need of medical care, a pharmacy is a professional environment where they expect to receive expert support. Patients tend to assume that drugs dispensed by a pharmacist will be exactly what they should receive and that the pharmacist dispensing their medication will warn them of any concerns related to their prescription.

Unfortunately, medication errors are a serious issue in the United States that undermine people’s medical care and sometimes even lead to adverse reactions and death. Many of these errors would likely be preventable with better workplace practices at individual pharmacies. There are two common employment practices in particular that may increase the likelihood of a major mistake occurring when compounding or dispensing drugs.

Too many technicians assisting a pharmacist

Louisiana law limits the number of technicians that a pharmacist can oversee so that these professionals with less training and education do not end up working unsupervised. However, businesses may try to find a way around limitations, possibly by having someone available electronically to consult with trainees and technicians, as a way to keep costs low. Such clever workarounds may compromise the professional standard at a pharmacy and could ultimately result in a totally preventable mistake when dispensing drugs. Too many technicians or trainees in a small space can also prove distracting, which can increase everyone’s risk of making mistakes on the job.

Overscheduling a pharmacist

A pharmacist often has a salary employment arrangement, which means the company that hired them will demand a significant amount of overtime each week. They may work six days every week and put in 10-hour shifts every day. Even those that aren’t spread quite that thin may still feel exhausted and be more prone to overlook the mistakes toward the end of their shifts.

The desire to get as much work as possible given the salary paid to a pharmacist by the company running the facility may ultimately lead to a reduction in the standard of service provided by the pharmacy. Overworked pharmacists may make mistakes or fail to notice the mistakes of others, including their technicians or the prescribing physician.

Preventable medication errors can result in significant medical and financial implications for the patients involved. Pursuing a pharmacy error claim can be one way to recoup the costs generated when a patient suffers medical consequences because of a preventable mistake involving their medication.