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Why do pharmacists give patients the wrong medications?

When patients receive a prescription for specific medications, they typically get that prescription from a medical provider, like a doctor or surgeon. That prescription is ordered at a local pharmacy. The technician in the pharmacy may put together the order, and the pharmacist then checks it to make sure it’s all correct. After this, a patient can check out and get their medications.

There are sometimes prescription errors made, though, that put patients at risk. Why do patients end up getting the wrong medications? There can be a few reasons. These might include:

  • Communication errors between all of the people involved
  • The illegibility of a doctor’s handwriting or order
  • Errors when handing out the medication (scanning the wrong medications)
  • Errors when packaging medications (putting them under the wrong patient name)

As someone who takes medications regularly, you may be familiar with what your medications look like or how they’re packaged. That’s good, because you may recognize if there are changes to the color or shape of the pills. 

If it’s a medication you’re not familiar with, you can take a few seconds to look it up online. Don’t be scared to clarify information about the medication with the pharmacist or your doctor. Their job is to make sure you are healthy and that you’re getting the right medications. 

If you do get the wrong medications from your local pharmacy, take them back to the pharmacist. If you get sick because of taking the wrong medications, call 911 and seek medical care. If you have lasting injuries or have financial losses, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit to help you recover your losses.