What can I do to prevent pharmacy errors?

Many people rely on prescribed medication to improve their health. Doctors aren't always readily available for patients, so many people turn to their local pharmacist when they have questions about drugs they take. Most pharmacists care about people and want to do whatever they can to help patients. Unfortunately, medication errors can happen, and when they do, they can cause serious complications.

When you fill a prescription at a pharmacy in Kentucky, you are placing your trust in the pharmacist's knowledge and training to keep you healthy and safe. One study found that dispensing errors account for about 21% of medication errors. A pharmacist who fails to properly dispense medication could end up severely injuring or even killing a person. Experts have some advice for how you can protect yourself.

Information is power

Errors can happen if the pharmacy doesn't have your current and accurate information. For example, a pharmacist should ask you to verify your name, birth date and address before giving you your medication. This ensures that you receive medication that is meant only for you.

If you have any allergies or other health conditions besides what your prescription is meant for, be sure the pharmacist knows about it. An allergy or a harmful side effect from prescribed medication can pose a danger to you. The pharmacy has software that should catch potential problems, but you need to be sure that you give them as thorough and accurate a picture of your health as possible to do that.

Communication is essential

If you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to ask the pharmacist. It is part of their job, and the vast majority of them are happy to talk to you to alleviate any uncertainty. If a pharmacist seems as though he or she doesn't want to converse with you, find a new pharmacist.

If your first language is not the same as the pharmacist, it may be difficult to understand him or her. If you need a translator, don't feel bad for asking for one. A language barrier could result in you not taking the proper medication. Many pharmacies have a way to access translation services for the most common languages in your area.

Mistakes can still happen

Despite all of these suggestions, it is still possible that you will receive the wrong medication. A mistake with medication can be devastating, particularly if it was a preventable mistake. If you've been harmed by a pharmacy error, you have the right to seek legal recourse and see that you are compensated for your injuries caused by someone else's carelessness.

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