High Volume Drugstores And Prescription Errors

Representing Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Nearby Areas of Florida

A USA Today investigation has revealed that profit driven corporate policies contribute to frequent pharmacy errors at the big chain drugstores, like Walgreens and CVS. The mega-companies establish policies that allow or encourage pharmacists to fill hundreds of prescriptions each day and even reward the pharmacists for fast work. Of course, speed can kill in drugstores, just as it does on public streets.

According to the investigation, some of the stores owned and operated by these big businesses have pharmacists working long shifts with few breaks while filling these hundreds of prescriptions each day. They also rely on lesser trained technicians to help licensed pharmacists process and package prescriptions in an attempt to meet guidelines for speed in filling prescriptions. Sometimes these guidelines set goals of as little as two minutes to fill a prescription. Some professional pharmacists and unions say this leaves little time to counsel patients about a new prescription while also contributing toward human error in the process.

Walgreens even pays bonuses to pharmacists and pharmacy managers for increased volume of filled prescriptions. Until recently, CVS had similar compensation bonus programs. Pharmacists in these chain drugstores are worried about workloads and staffing pressures and are more likely to say they are stressed by these influences than pharmacists overall according to national surveys.

Avoid being a victim of prescription error by knowing your medications and why you are taking them, inspecting your pills when you leave the store, knowing and understanding your specific dosage, sticking to one drugstore, and really communicating with your pharmacist. Don’t assume your prescription is safe. If it looks different from the medication you expected to receive in any way, ask questions and be certain you’ve received the right medicine and the correct dosage.

While most prescription errors fortunately don’t result in major health complications, some errors can have catastrophic consequences, including death. If you or a loved one has been the victim of prescription error, CGWC is here when you need us.