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NPA’s quarterly report shows increase in pharmacist errors

Aug 31, 2018 | Medication Errors

The National Pharmacy Association has released its quarterly report on patient safety errors among community pharmacists. The three-month period between April and June 2018 has seen a startling 64 percent increase in the number of such errors compared to the previous quarter. Patients in New York will want to know what some of the factors are.

In the previous quarter, 4 percent of pharmacist errors were put down to workplace pressure. In the most recent report, however, workload and time pressures accounted for 45 percent of errors. Most of these were dispensing errors; pharmacists would give the wrong medication because of similar-sounding names, attach a prescription slip to the wrong bag and mix up names and addresses on prescription labels.

Furthermore, 8 percent of the errors involved breaches of patient confidentiality. The NPA reminds all pharmacy teams that they are to have "robust procedures" in place for investigating and reporting such breaches as per the General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect in May 2018. This, along with changes to data protection law, may partly be responsible for the increase in errors.

The NPA states that it frequently receives calls from pharmacists concerning these errors. The association has an online platform that it encourages all pharmacists to use to report incidents. Pharmacists can also learn more about GDPR through webinars and workshops.

Medication errors can result in serious complications, but victims may be eligible for compensation. To file a medical malpractice claim, one may want a lawyer by their side. A malpractice attorney could request an inquiry with the medical board and have third parties conduct their own investigations. Medical professionals could determine the extent of the injuries so that all potential expenses will be included in the damages. The attorney could then begin negotiations.