The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) began in the mid-1970s with the goal of tracking and investigating medication errors. Through voluntary reporting they review and investigate over 1000 medication errors each year.
The most common problems notes are not the pharmacists but the process of medication prescription and use. Examples of breakdowns include, “look-alike vials of medication, the use of devises for medication delivery, similar drug names and similar brand-name extensions for over-the-counter drugs, dosing mix ups and ambiguous orders written by prescribers.” The group collects information on the errors and then documents the likely reason for the mistakes and how they might be avoided in similar scenarios. [click to continue…]
Walgreens lost a recent appeal to overturn a decision that awarded $33 million to the family of a woman who died because of an improperly filled prescription.
In 2002, Beth Hippely was prescribed the blood thinner Warfarin to help treat her breast cancer. The prescription that she was given was approximately 10 times the level prescribed. The jury in the original case found that the mix up was the cause of a cerebral hemorrhage that left her permanently disabled and in physical pain. She later died at the age of 46.
The appeals court upheld the original decision that found Walgreens liable and leveled the large payoff to the family. Walgreens would not comment on the case.
A Montgomery, Alabama jury last month leveled a $2.5 million fine over an incorrectly filled prescription from 2006. Reva Tosh was accidently given the steroid Decadron in place of the pain medication for her rheumatoid arthritis.
Ms. Tosh took high doses of the steroid for 28 days after which she developed Cushing’s syndrome. She suffered from mental disorders as well as physical problems that eventually confined her to a wheelchair. Her attorney maintained that the primary issue in the case was weather the ailments she suffered were due to the Cushing’s or a result of the rheumatoid arthritis that was the cause of her original prescription for pain medication.
The jury found that the Cushing’s was the cause of her current conditions and awarded Ms. Tosh $2 million for her injuries and suffering. They also awarded her husband $500,000 for the loss of his wife’s companionship.