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Re: My pharmacy gave me the wrong drug!

Posted by Tony P on May 30, 2003, at 9:28:02

In reply to Re: My pharmacy gave me the wrong drug! ST, posted by dddiane on May 29, 2003, at 6:55:28

I also received a wrong Rx for Buspar once - I think as a result of two similar looking vials being cross-labeled. As my pharmacy dispenses generic where available, and they sometimes switch brands, I wasn't at first surprised that the little white pills were a slightly different shape. But on further consideration I phoned the pharmacy, and indeed I had the wrong med. They didn't tell me what it was - appearance suggested heart or BP/diuretic - could have been nasty.

Being Xanadian (that's a Canadian on Xanax ;-) I am not much in favour of legal action unless you've suffered actual medical harm. The same pharmacist did the exchange for me (most apologetic), and I spoke also to the chief pharm. The first pharmacist retired not long after (no idea if my problem was an issue). I notice they have since been quite scrupulous about warning me when they change brands that the tablets may look a little different.

Mistakes will _always_ happen, computer or human, so our wisest recourse is to be informed consumers. On a new Rx you could ask to see the picture of the med. in the doctor's or pharmacist's CPS/Vademecum. And count your meds, especially if the quantity doesn't look right - I've once or twice been shorted without the back-order being noted. I've also received the wrong strength, due to Dr. error - Read your Rx (if you can!) before leaving the Dr's office, you should atleast be able to make out whether it says 150 or 200 mg. Most pharmacists don't mind being asked to double check something - it's their business!

As far as computerized automated systems go, being in the software business I have a somewhat cynical view, knowing all the errors that can occur (e.g. the person updating the computer types "Serzone" instead of "Seroquel" for the stored label). Certainly prior to the introduction of full automation, some large/high-volume chains had a horrific record of misfilled prescriptions (anecdotal - sorry I don't have a ref.)

Tony P


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