Overworked Pharmacists Can Make Mistakes

Published March 15th, 2016 by USA Rx
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

Between the increasing costs and demands for health care in the United States, various sectors of the health care industry are suffering from low manpower. There are a shortage of general practicing doctors, for instance, since specialist doctors get better salaries, but general practitioners are in high demand since they’re the ones who identify the general cause of their patients’ problems and either provide them with basic advice and cures or else recommend them to the right specialists for the job.

Similarly, while a pharmacist’s job isn’t quite as demanding as a doctor’s, there’s still a shortage of good pharmacists in many parts of the country, and like anyone who has more work than he or she can handle, a pharmacist who has to fill too many prescriptions may wind up making dangerous mistakes, such as choosing the wrong pill or vial of fluid or else mislabeling the bottle so that the patient accidentally takes too much or too little of the medication.

As a patient looking to fill a prescription there isn’t much you can do to solve a nationwide problem like a shortage of pharmacists, but there are a few things you can do to help prevent medication mistakes:

  • Do some research on every drug your doctor prescribes. It’s a good idea for the simple reason that you should know the side effects, risks, and drug interactions, but it can also let you realize early on that the side effects you’re experiencing don’t line up with the medication you’re supposed to be taking.
  • If you can’t read your doctor’s handwriting, your pharmacist may have just as much trouble. If you have any doubts, ask for a printout instead.
  • If you see your pharmacist on a regular basis, try and cultivate a personal relationship. It will make it easier for him or her to remember which medications you’re taking regularly and so mistakes will be less likely. Your pharmacist may even have some advice to give you about drug combinations and new medications and dosages to suggest to your doctor.

But while a personal relationship with your pharmacist may lower the chance of mistakes, there isn’t too much he or she can do about the current price of medication. Fortunately, the USARx pharmacy discount card can help: simply sign up for free, give your account number to your pharmacist of choice, and you’ll start saving up to 75 percent on the list price of all prescription medications, both name brand and generic. If you’d like more information, you can email us at [email protected] or call us at 888-277-3911.

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