Georgia Pharmacies Misfill Prescriptions

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As a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, I have represented numerous people who have become sick after receiving the wrong medication at metro area pharmacies. Most of the major pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart are not immune from the misfill problem. Misfilled prescriptions may cause minor issues like upset stomach or headache, or even major problems like stroke or death.

My clients have asked me if there are any safeguards in place to protect customers of pharmacies. The answer is, yes–there should be safeguards in place. First, pills are often a specific color and size, both of which the pharmacist should associate with the particular drug. Next, most pharmacies now have computer-check systems in place which are supposed to have a record of a number of things, including what drugs the patient is on and whether any newly-prescribed drug will interact with an existing prescription. Also, the pharmacy technician is supposed to ask the customer if he or she has any questions for the pharmacist.

In these cases, I have seen pharmacies try to blame the customer for failing to recognize that they were given the wrong drug. Candidly, that is an absurd defense. Most, if not an overwhelming majority of people, are not going to look twice at the drug they are given–they trust the pharmacist. Even if someone were to recognize that the pill were a different size or color, most would assume that the medication has changed in appearance, not that they were given the wrong drug.

The best practice, however, is to question your pharmacist if you have any doubt that you have been given the right drug. And, if you begin to feel odd or different after a dose or two, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you have been given the right drug.

In Georgia, the Georgia Board of Pharmacy regulates pharmacies and pharmacists.

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