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How to avoid medication errors at the pharmacy

Pharmacists in New Jersey work hard to ensure that patients receive the correct medications. Through safety software and personal oversight, pharmacists watch for potential drug interactions and make themselves available to answer questions. Despite their diligence and safety protocols, however, people sometimes receive the wrong medications. One study estimated that about 21 percent of medication errors happen at the pharmacy. Patients can play a role in preventing mistakes by keeping their pharmacists well informed.

They can start by telling the pharmacy about their allergies. The tracking software at the pharmacy will use that information to alert pharmacists to potential problems. People should also make sure that their pharmacies have the correct spelling for their names as well as correct birth and address information. This identifying information could stop mixups with people with similar names.

Patients need to inform their pharmacists about every medication that they are taking, including over-the-counter medications. Once again, the presence of complete information in the pharmacy database could warn a pharmacist about drug interactions, contraindications or side effects. People who have any doubts or uncertainties about a medicine should take the time to discuss those concerns with pharmacists.

Health care workers have a duty to provide care that meets certain standards. If a person suspects that a medication error happened because a physician, pharmacist or nurse failed to follow dosage directions, notice an allergy or catch a warning about negative drug interactions, a claim of medical malpractice could be warranted. A case investigation by an attorney could yield evidence that might support a claim of medical negligence. An attorney could gather testimony from an independent physician to support the plaintiff's lawsuit. A settlement could potentially cover medical bills, lost income and suffering.

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