Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in New York and throughout the nation are some of the most trusted professionals in the medical field. Patients rely on you to fill their prescriptions accurately, while ensuring their medication will not interact with any other drugs they are taking.

Yet, prescription errors occur at a surprising rate in the United States. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are more than 100,000 claims of medication errors every year. This number may be low, as some errors are never reported.

What are medication errors?

Medication errors are preventable medical mistakes that may cause patients to take the wrong medicine or use the drug improperly. Errors can result in birth defects, hospitalizations, disabilities and life threatening issues.

Mistakes can come from physicians miswriting prescriptions, prescribing the wrong medication or writing medication that are contraindicated with one another. Pharmacists and/or technicians may mistype the prescription or dispense the wrong medication. Other errors include the following:

  • Dispensing the wrong medication
  • Typing the wrong instructions for use
  • Dispensing the wrong strength of medication
  • Giving the wrong drug to the wrong patient
  • Failing to catch a drug interaction

Pharmacists are also responsible for catching potential drug interactions, duplicate therapy and potential allergic reactions.

How to prevent mistakes?

Not only is it important to be extremely cautious while typing, dispensing and selling medication, organizing your workflow can help to prevent errors. Having several checkpoints to ensure the medication is filled properly is also critical. Finally, it is helpful to educate patients on how to take their medication properly.