State pharmacy boards cannot protect consumers from pharmacy mistakes.
Most states do not have any laws in place to govern
pharmacy inspection rates.
A lack of proper funding and staff shortage makes state boards inadequate organizations to protect consumers.
We believe we can rely on state boards to keep tabs on the pharmacies that fill our prescriptions, but state inspection boards cannot provide the needed oversight to protect us. It's up to consumers to take action and make the pharmacies listen.
No federal regulations exist to inspect pharmacies, and state inspection rates are dangerously lax:
- In some locations, some pharmacies have not been inspected for 10 to 15 years, according to a spokesperson from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
- Texas Pharmacy Board Inspections - The Texas pharmacy board aims to inspect over 4,400 Texas pharmacies every two years, but the Texas pharmacy board has six pharmacy inspection agents, which means pharmacies can stay under the radar for years at a time without undergoing any safety regulation inspections.
- California - 6,000 pharmacies are inspected once every four years.
- Massachusetts - over 1,000 pharmacies are inspected randomly, with 124 checked in 2007.
What's more, there is no requirement under federal law for pharmacies to report the number of prescription errors that occur, even errors that lead to serious injury or death. Although there are computer systems that can prevent some errors, there is no federal requirement across state lines to use the system.
State pharmacy boards cannot be relied upon to inspect our pharmacies and a lack of federal regulation means consumers have to protect themselves against pharmacy mistakes.
The fox guarding the henhouse - Pharmacy chains vote on their own punishment for errors.
Another issue with state pharmacy boards is that they hold annual meetings for disciplinary hearings, but many of the seats are filled by employees of the large pharmacy chains.
- Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart, Target, Albertson's, and Safeway all have representatives sitting on these boards in almost every state in the United States.
- A report from USA TODAY shows that pharmacy employees of major chains like Walgreens, CVS, and Target account for one in four of the panelists on state pharmacy boards. USA TODAY reports that Walgreens and CVS fill the most seats, with at least 21 each.
With such a system in place, it is easy to see how pharmacy board members can watch out for the well-being of their own companies first, not for consumers.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury because of a prescription mistake, order your FREE copy of our book, written by personal injury attorneys, to find out how to how to make pharmacies pay for injuries caused by medication errors. You can then call our board certified attorneys at 888-526-7616 to start your free case review.