Prescriptions in America have increased to over 3 billion from a reported 2 billion back in 1994. That increase has pharmacists working longer hours under immense pressure, often tasked with handling 30 prescriptions per hour.
Think about that – 30 PRESCRIPTIONS PER HOUR! That equates to only 2 minutes to fill a prescription, check for potential drug interactions, verify insurance plans, talk to the patient and make potential calls to the doctor’s office.
To help manage the increase, pharmacies are delegating some duties to pharmacy technicians and clerks who have very little training. Although the technicians and clerks work under the direction of the pharmacist, technicians and clerks have no legal responsibility. The legal responsibility is that of the pharmacist. Therefore, technicians and clerks are less likely to double check the prescriptions they are giving to patients.
What does all of this mean? PHARMACY ERRORS!
A report from researchers at Ohio State University estimated 2.2 million dispensing errors per year. Errors are often doubled by interruptions and distractions pharmacy personnel face on a daily basis. Helping store customers find food items or other grocery store items not related to the pharmacy are one example of interruptions and distractions.
All of this affects you and your well-being. It is important for you to take as much control as you can.
By following some basic steps:
- Ask questions about your prescription
- Ask to speak directly to the pharmacist
- Review the label on your prescription bottle
- Read the paperwork that comes with your prescription
- Call your doctor
- Get answers to all of your questions before taking your prescription
Remember, under the Illinois Pharmacy Practice Act (225 ILCS 85/1 et seq.), pharmacists must provide counseling on prescription drugs. When in doubt, ask your pharmacist!