The Importance of Avoiding Prescription Errors as a Pharmacist in Kansas

Pharmacists are healthcare providers just like physicians and nurses.  You provide healthcare to your customers, who are also your patients, by dispensing prescription medications ordered by physicians.  While pharmacists don’t have the same one-on-one contact with their patients as physicians do, their role in ensuring patients receive the proper medication is vital to the overall health and well-being of the patient.  One small mistake, such as dispensing the wrong dosage, or dispensing the wrong medication entirely, can result in serious harm or death.  Therefore, pharmacists must scrutinize their work and that of their subordinates to a higher degree than many other professions.  One mistake could mean the loss of your pharmacist license in Kansas.

Common Pharmacy Errors

There are varying degrees of errors that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make on a regular basis.  Some mistakes are minor, such as dispensing 29 pills instead of 30 for a patient.  But most mistakes are much more serious, and can be grounds for discipline and potential loss of your license in Kansas.  Some of the serious pharmacy errors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dispensing the wrong prescription medication to a patient;
  • Dispensing the wrong does of a prescription medication to a patient;
  • Failing to investigate potential drug interactions a particular patient may have;
  • Failing to ask the patient if he or she has any questions about the medication being dispensed; and
  • Failing to communicate serious warnings, such as black box warnings, that some medications have

Consequences of Serious Pharmacy Errors

All of the above-mentioned pharmacy errors may lead to a patient becoming seriously ill, or even dying.  The most common fatal pharmacy error is dispensing the wrong dose of a medication to a patient.  Patients assume that the medication they receive is the intended dose, so they trust that what the pharmacist has dispensed must be correct.  Dispensing the wrong medication could be equally fatal, however, patients are more likely to realize that they have been given the wrong prescription medication, because they will not recognize the medication as something they have taken before.

Further, errors regarding a failure to communicate with the patient and investigate the patient’s prescription drug history can have disastrous consequences.  These errors often result when a pharmacist or pharmacy technician simply dispenses a prescription drug without understanding how that drug may affect a particular patient.  For example, if a patient already takes the blood thinner Coumadin, and then is prescribed certain antibiotics, the pharmacist should be aware that the antibiotics may have an impact on the effectiveness of Coumadin, which is a closely monitored medication.

Another potentially dangerous situation arises when a patient takes a prescription medication that has been given a black box warning, and a pharmacist does not communicate this serious warning to patients.  For example, if a patient takes Reglan, which has a black box warning for being known to cause the neurological condition “tardive dyskinesia,” that patient needs to be told that such a serious side-effect exists, to allow the patients to make an informed decision on whether or not to take the medication.

How to Prevent Pharmacy Errors

It is nearly impossible to prevent all mistakes.  However, if you are a pharmacist and you simply take the extra few minutes to ensure that you are dispensing the correct medication at the correct dosage.  Further, if you take the time to communicate with your patient about drug interactions, and potentially dangerous warnings, you will be taking all of the steps you need to take to ensure you are doing your job under Kansas law and won’t be at risk for losing your license.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

We all make mistakes.  But when you have a professional license, each mistake carries with it enormous circumstances that could make or break your career in your profession.  If you are a pharmacist who is at risk of losing your license due to a prescription error, contact Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office as soon as possible to discuss your situation.  With her prior experience as Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, she knows what it’s like to be on the side of the Board that is deciding your fate as a pharmacist.  This experience allows Danielle Sanger to better represent her clients who are facing the loss of their professional licenses.  Call the Sanger Law Office today to schedule your free consultation by calling 785-979-4353.