Three steps you can take to prevent pharmacy errors

Pharmacy medication mistakes happen more often than you might think.

A potential new client recently contacted Painter Law Firm about a prescription that a national pharmacy chain bungled. It all started when she hurt her ankle and her orthopedic surgeon prescribed pain medication. For about four months, the painkillers seemed to work well.

The next time she refilled her prescription, though, this lady noticed that it wasn’t taking care of the pain. She also felt fatigued. When she went back to see her doctor, he suggested an MRI to see if her ankle wasn’t healing properly.

In the meantime, it came time to refill the prescription again. She picked up the prescription bottle to call in the refill order and was shocked to notice that the label had someone else’s name on it. She kept reading the label and found that the pharmacy had given her another patient’s blood pressure medication, which she had been taking for two months.

Fortunately, it doesn’t appear like this lady will have any long-term effects or impairments from the medication mix-up. Just as easily, though, it could have led to tragedy.

What you can do

There are a few practical ways to keep yourself safe when it comes to filling prescription medications.

First, when your doctor or healthcare provider writes a prescription for you, ask for a copy of the paperwork. These days, most physicians transmit prescriptions and refills electronically. With a printed copy of the prescription, you can compare the drug name and dosage to what your pharmacy dispenses to make sure it’s correct. If the name looks different, it could be a generic equivalent, but in any event you should definitely ask the pharmacy staff.

Second, inspect the medication or packaging to make sure that it matches the label. If it's a refill, compare it to what the medicine looked like the last time you filled it. If there's a difference, speak up and ask the pharmacist.

Third, take advantage of counseling with the pharmacist.

When you go to the pharmacy to fill a prescription, you should be asked whether you have any questions or would like to talk to the pharmacist. This is a free service that you shouldn’t ignore, particularly with new medications. Ask the pharmacist about whether the new medicine might interfere with anything else that you’re taking or any of your medical conditions.

We are here to help

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by hospital or medical care, then the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. Right now we’re working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Beaumont, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a 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 against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2018, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys 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 for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.