The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Did this look right?!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:39 am on Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I dont very often make a critical comment about my technicians.  They are a valuable asset to me and I appreciate them.  but today…

Right out of the chute monday morning were 2 prescriptions brought in by a man.  My technician took the information and filled the two prescriptions and set them before me to check.   The man was accompanied by a woman who I presumed to be the patient because she was walking gingerly, as if her back hurt.  The first rx was for 25 Vicodin ES and the second was for Diazepam 2mg….# 250. It was a computer generated rx so no “tampering” had been done.  As I said, the technician filled them and sat them before me.    I checked off the Vicodin ES and got to the Diazepam.  I looked at the finished product and said “Holy cow,  do you REALLY think the doctor meant for this patient to get 250 Valium? Come on!”

A quick call to the Dr verified that a key stroke error on the computer generated rx turned 25 into 250.  “My bad, thanks for catching that” the nurse said.

The tech filled this without so much as batting an eye or questioning the quantity. 

That’s what I am here for….as a pharmacist.

I don’t think it takes a pharmacy degree to have a little bit of common sense. So why did it seem sensical to fill a prescription for  250 valium with its companion 25 Vicodin?

I just don’t have an answer for that one….and neither did my tech.



Comment by Johnny

May 19, 2009 @ 8:47 am

That’s pretty bad.

I did something equally as ridiculous several weeks ago. It was a very bad day, and I just couldn’t seem to focus on pharmacy matters…and that’s a very bad thing, considering the impact a error in filling can have on a patient if it isn’t caught by the RPh.

Long story short, I filled an order for #30 Crestor 10mg with #270. Twice. Yes, you read that right. I did it twice in one day, about fifteen minutes apart.

Thank Almighty God that my RPh’s are attentive and forgiving. They just laughed and told me to pay closer attention to detail…and not to try to give away 2K of drugs any more. I’m now known as “Crestor Boy.”

Point is, everyone makes mistakes. The question is if they learn from them and act accordingly in the future.

Just a thought.

Comment by Pharmacy Mike

May 19, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

This is the very reason why, for the sake of patient safety, pharmacists have to be involved in the filling and dispensing process.

The techs in my store would have filled it also without giving it a second thought. I catch little errors like this every day. In retail pharmacy, it’s not necessarily the extent to which I learned pharmacy in school. It’s the fact that I made it through 6 years of a, by most accounts, rigorous program.

It all comes down to this: Who do you think will fill prescriptions more accurately? A pharmacy technician that got a tech license after a few months of training? Or a pharmacist who needed to go through 6 years of high level biology and chemistry courses before getting licensed?

Yeah… I thought so.

Comment by chris

May 20, 2009 @ 5:12 am

anyone can make these mistakes, and it is really embarassing when it is yourself. Sometimes when it is really busy everything becomes so robotic. I have not made that particular error myself (as far as I am aware) but i have made dispensing errors like everyone else. I think the real problem comes with the way some people learn, a dispenser might look at a script and their training has geared them up for linear thinking and accuracy. so it will appear in front of you, perfectlly accurate, but compeletely wrong, in terms of common sense or appropriateness.
Yes, Chris, you are absolutely right, and my post probably made it out to sound like I berated my techs but I really didn’t make them feel bad, but I did make them AWARE that looking at appropriateness of the script is important. For example, had this been a long time chronic pain patient who was getting 250 vicodin at a time, we’d probably not bat an eye at the script, but a first time urgent care patient? it should have raised an eyebrow. Even the patient knew…she asked at the register “Did I get 250 Valium? I don’t think I need that many”…ironically she chose NOT to mention it at the time she handed it in…tho she had noticed it.

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