But when they happen to us or to a loved one, we want answers. That’s why we’ve launched RxErrors.com, which is our latest blogosphere dedicated to openly talking about issues relating to the kinds of mistakes that happen every day in our hospitals, in our pharmacies and in our nursing homes. We’ve created a forum where up-to-date information can be shared about drugs that are on the FDA watch-list, drugs that have resulted in serious, unintended and unreasonable side effects, and drugs that are repeatedly confused because of similar-sounding names or appearances.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about errors relating to prescription or over-the-counter drugs: The wrong drug was given to the right patient. The right drug was given to the wrong patient. The wrong dose was administered to a patient resulting in overdose and death. We’ve read stories in the newspapers or seen snippets flash across our Facebook pages about the young child, who was given ten times the amount of chemotherapy because of an error in a decimal point.
Well, last month, it happened to me. I was given a prescription by a local medical clinic. I went to CVS to fill the prescription, but was told that they don’t carry that particular medication. I went to Walgreen’s and Publix, but received the same response, “We don’t carry that medication.” Finally, I called a local pharmacy and spoke with a pharmacist., who told me, “You won’t find that drug anywhere in the United States. It was pulled from the shelves in 2011 because it was causing liver toxicity.”
How is it even possible that a physician was able to prescribe a medication that had been pulled from the market almost five years ago? I was livid. The “what ifs” started running through my mind. “What if I had tried to fill the prescription using an online company?” “What if my pharmacy had not pulled the drug from their shelves and accidentally filled it?” “What if I had actually taken that drug for one month, as prescribed??”
It has been reported that between 380,000 and 450,000 preventable medication errors occur in hospitals each year. According to the Institute of Medicine’s report, “Preventing Medication Errors,” preventable medication errors cost $3.5 billion in lost productivity, wages, and additional medical expenses. I invite you to join the conversation about medication errors by visiting RxErrors.com and by following me on Twitter @RxErrorLaw.