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One state's investigation finds CVS errors in 20% of prescriptions

Pharmacist counseling is a safety net available to patients

Would you be surprised to learn that the fourth largest company in the United States is the pharmacy chain CVS Health? (That’s according to 2022 total revenue data).

Despite all of those resources, some pharmacists and pharmacy techs complain that mega pharmacy CVS stores are plagued by understaffing that put patients at needless risk.

One state’s pharmacy board investigated CVS pharmacies in its jurisdiction in 2019–2020 and found an error rate of over 20%—that’s 1 out of every 5 prescriptions filled! Some errors uncovered in the investigation were clerical and minor. The more serious mistakes included dispensing wrong drugs and providing patients incorrect information about dosages or when to take a medication.

Here at Painter Law Firm, we’ve handled a variety of Texas pharmacy medical malpractice cases involving these patient safety issues.

From my experience, I recommend that patients take advantage of a safety net that’s available when they fill new prescriptions. Texas law requires pharmacies to offer counseling to patients when filling new drugs. In some pharmacies, it’s barely mentioned by the pharmacy tech or cashier, but it’s certainly something that you can request.

Only a licensed pharmacist can provide patient counseling under Texas law. Pharmacists are medication experts and can explain:

• The reasons a medication may have been ordered. You may mention to the pharmacist what your doctor, physician assistant (PA), or nurse practitioner (NP) told you about the rationale for the prescription.

• How the drug works and signs of an adverse reaction that you should know about.

• What to do in an emergency.

• If the drug is safe to take with your other medications.

Concerning the last point, I should mention that I think it’s a good idea to fill all prescriptions at the same pharmacy, so the pharmacy’s computer system can flag potential medication reactions or risks. If you don’t do this, it’s even more important to take advantage of pharmacist counseling and to make sure the pharmacist is aware of all drugs you’re taking.

In addition to these benefits, counseling ensures that your prescription has extra attention from the pharmacist, who may spot medication, dosage, or instruction errors.

When a medication error happens at a pharmacy, it can have terrible consequences for the patient. If you’ve been seriously injured because of a pharmacy error in Texas, bear in mind that the law treats it as a health care liability claim that’s subject to Texas medical malpractice tort reform laws. That’s why it’s a good idea to contact a Texas medical malpractice attorney for a free strategy session about your potential case.

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.


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