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Tips to Help Prevent Receiving the Wrong Prescription

David W. Hodges
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Posted on Jun 07, 2013

It is easy to make a simple error behind the pharmacy counter. For example, medication for one person may be placed in a bag that is for another patient, or the wrong label could be placed on a pill bottle. When pharmacy errors like this occur, patients get someone else’s medication and could suffer negative consequences.

Sometimes patients have the same name or have similar sounding names, which is why many prescription mistakes occur. In order to avoid being a victim of wrong medication or pharmacy malpractice, patients need to take the following steps:

  • Always present identification when picking up your prescription at the pharmacy. When patients are only identified by their first names, medication mistakes can happen. Every patient needs to be properly identified before receiving medication. If the pharmacy doesn’t request your ID, give your identification to the pharmacist to confirm that the medication is yours.
  • If you don’t present your identification and the pharmacy doesn’t ask for it, at least identify yourself with your full name and date of birth.
  • Be familiar with the drug names, both brand and generic, of the medication you were prescribed.
  • Ask if the medication you’ve received is actually for you. Have a pharmacist double check.
  • Inspect the label on the bag and the label on the prescription inside the bag to confirm your name is on both labels.
  • If you are receiving pills, it is acceptable and advised that you open the bottle, remove one of the pills, and ask the pharmacist to double check that you are receiving the correct medicine.
  • Ask for a consultation with the pharmacist to hear more about the medication, how you should take the drugs, and any potential side effects.
  • If the pharmacist mentions something about the medication that doesn’t sound right to you or if you notice a discrepancy, ask questions or inform the pharmacist.

Pharmacy error can have serious consequences. Protect yourself—ask questions!

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