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Patient and pharmacist cooperation can reduce medication errors

Millions of North Carolina residents rely on pharmacists to dispense prescribed medicine and to offer assist patients in using their medications safely. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology indicated that approximately 21 percent of medication errors that cause injury to patients are attributed to dispensing errors that occur at the pharmacy. These errors are common; however, there are multiple measures that pharmacists and patients can exercise to prevent these potentially costly mistakes.

As the last line of defense between pharmaceutical companies and patients, pharmacies are tasked with intercepting unsafe medications that may otherwise cause injury to patients. Specialized computer software, strategically organizing and storing medicines at the pharmacy, and matching each drug to a photo image prior to dispensing are all methods pharmacies use to keep patients safe.

One of the most basic ways patients can help pharmacists make sure they deliver the right medication to the right patient is to maintain up-do-date in the pharmacy's database. Patients should always verify that the pharmacist has their correct name, address and date of birth. Patients must also notify the pharmacist of allergies, other medicines the patient may be taking and any other concurrent health conditions the patient may be experiencing. Patients must also ensure that they understand the information the pharmacist provides; it is okay to ask questions and to request a translator if necessary.

If a patient becomes ill after taking the wrong medication dispensed by a pharmacist, he or she may have legal recourse in a medical malpractice lawsuit. A North Carolina personal injury lawyer may be able to help the patient establish that the medication error resulted in the illness. If the patient is able to show in court that the pharmacist was at fault, the patient may receive compensation for his or her injuries.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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