Whether Nevada residents go to a community pharmacy, a chain or a grocery store for prescriptions, they should be able to count on receiving the right medications. However, a recent news story by CBS indicates that these transactions are not always as safe as they should be. The pressure to fill prescriptions quickly may be taking precedence over safety procedures, according to the story.
A personal injury attorney in Reno, NV is probably aware of the trend in pharmacies called the Performance Metrics system. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are evaluated based on the speed and efficiency of their work processes, which include the verification of prescriptions, the number filled within specified time frames and the completion of other duties. In a busy pharmacy, this has the potential to create a level of stress that could lead to errors, retired employees allege.
Pharmacist survey indicates prevalent errors
In conjunction with the American Pharmacists Association, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices performed a survey of more than 650 pharmacists to determine the level of risk caused by Performance Metrics. Results indicated that 83 percent of these professionals believed offering a guarantee to fill prescriptions within a specified time led to errors dispensing medications. More than 25 percent of the participants reported that their employers advertised this type of guarantee, and nearly half said they are penalized if they are unable to meet the time limit. Roughly one in four received salary bonuses when they met the time guarantees.
In the pharmacies where a time guarantee was in place, 44 percent of the pharmacists reported that they had been involved in a dispensing error or near miss directly related to the rush to meet the time limit. A personal injury attorney in Reno, NV may agree with three out of four participants who strongly favored regulations banning time guarantees or promises. In light of these survey results and other research, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy recommends that state boards of pharmacy regulate, restrict or prohibit Performance Metrics and quotas.
Flawed reporting systems
The ISMP states that it is not feasible to establish a national medication error rate because mistakes tracked are based on self-reporting practices. After reviewing the studies done on medication errors in pharmacies, researchers determined that even the best voluntary reporting systems only scratch the surface. They posit that a good reporting system could even cause an institution to appear to have a high error rate, when the opposite may be true. These factors make it impossible for researchers to determine the true impact of the problem.
When institutional policies put consumers in danger, it is essential for those affected to seek to hold responsible parties liable. This is often one of the most effective ways to ensure positive change. Nevada residents who suffer because of a prescription error may be eligible to receive compensation for damages. A personal injury attorney in Reno, NV may be able to provide legal advice on the best way to proceed.