Countless people across the country utilize the pharmacy services at drugstores like Walgreens and CVS on a regular basis. These storefronts have become essential to assisting people in getting the medications they need each and every day. However, a New York Times report earlier this year along with claims from pharmacy consultants reveal many Walgreens and CVS stores receive ongoing complaints about prescription errors and overworked employees.
The consultants involved – a group from Tata Consultancy Services – reviewed Walgreens’ computer systems for filing prescriptions. Walgreens pharmacists informed them that high levels of stress and unreasonable expectations caused or contributed to making prescription errors while filing prescriptions and ignoring some safety procedures entirely. However, when the consultants presented their findings to Walgreens’ corporate office in February, there was no mention of employee concerns or any reference to prescription error.
In fact, senior leaders at Walgreens instructed the consultants to remove any damaging findings from their report after reviewing a draft of their presentation, internal emails, chat logs, and two prior versions.
This isn’t the first time Walgreens and CVS stores have been found to have medication safety issues. Pharmacists in dozens of states have accused Walgreens, CVS, and other major drugstore chains of putting the public at risk of prescription errors due to their understaffed and chaotic workplaces. In letters to state pharmacy boards, pharmacists said they have struggled to keep up with an increasing number of tasks, including: filling prescriptions, giving flu shots, answering phones, tending the drive-through, and many others, all while racing to meet corporate performance metrics they characterize as excessive and unsafe.
While mistakes are somewhat inevitable, doctors and other medical professionals are held to a higher standard. Their medical mistakes can result in catastrophic injury or even wrongful death. In fact, over 250,000 people in the United States die each year due to medical error, according to a Johns Hopkins study. Medical error is also the third leading cause of death in our country, just behind cancer and heart disease.
One of the most common forms of medical malpractice is prescription error. Prescription errors are preventable and occur due to: a treating provider administering the wrong medication, the incorrect dosage of a medication, a medication that interacts dangerously with another medication the patient is already taking, and premature discontinuation of treatment.
Sadly, many of these instances can be avoided entirely. Whether a doctor fails to set aside enough time to carefully write out a prescription and it is misread due to poor handwriting or if medical professionals and pharmacists fail to communicate with each other appropriately because they are in a rush, prescription drug errors can have devastating effects on medical malpractice victims. Those who had their lives altered physically, financially, or emotionally due to prescription errors should hold negligent providers accountable, not only to recover their own damages but also to prevent others from suffering the same injuries.
Prescription errors can have lasting effects on victims and their families, who will suffer due to the negligence of those they should be able to trust with their lives. If you or someone you know has been a victim of medical malpractice due to prescription error in the Houston area, contact the experienced Houston personal injury attorneys at Ramsey Law Group today to discuss your claim.