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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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You May Need To Experience A Medication Error To Be On Guard At Your Pharmacy

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Patients who have experienced medication errors take more precautions when dealing with pharmacies. They have lower perceptions of pharmacy safety, according to a study reported in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (July, 2005). The majority did not worry about pharmacy safety and generally believed that the drug dispensing process at their pharmacy was safe.

Patients who have experienced medication errors have lower perceptions of pharmacy safety and are more likely to engage in behaviors to protect themselves from future errors, as compared with those who have not had an error experience. That is the conclusion of a study reported in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (July, 2005).

In other words, those who have been bitten by a snake are much more careful around snakes. This finding is troubling because many Americans pick up prescriptions at their local pharmacies every single day. Many have no awareness of how badly a misfilled prescription can bite them.

The study involved 920 employees and retirees from the University of Michigan. It reports that “168 (18.3%) reported that they had experienced a medication error at some time in their lives and 193 (21.0%) knew a family member or friend who experienced an error; 63 (6.8%) had experienced an error within the past year and 5 (0.5%) had required additional medical attention because of an error.” [I find these numbers to be alarming.]

“The majority of respondents did not worry about pharmacy safety and generally believed that the drug dispensing process at their pharmacy was safe. Approximately 80%-90% of respondents engaged in basic safety-related behaviors when receiving a prescription medication (e.g., checked for their name on the label or checked the directions on the label). While 72.3% of respondents reported that they read the medication pamphlet provided by the pharmacy, only 27.3% talked to the pharmacist about their medications.”

“Respondents who had personal experiences with medication errors–or knew someone who had encountered such errors–had lower perceptions of pharmacy safety and were more likely to engage in several safety-related behaviors.”