WOAI-TV, the NBC affiliate in San Antonio, broadcast a powerful report on pharmacy safety last week. You can watch the full video here; here’s an excerpt from the report:

It turns out pharmacists and pharmacies make … mistakes a lot more than you might think. Mistakes include giving you someone else’s medicine, giving you the wrong medicine or giving the wrong dosage. In the case of thirteen year old Christopher Booker, it was the wrong dosage. He survived cancer treatment at a San Antonio hospital back in 2002. Deemed free of the deadly disease by his own doctors, Christopher was sent home for a second chance at life. Just one week later, though, he died. Pharmacist Kenton Graham Wylie misfilled Christopher’s prescription.

State records and a videotaped deposition show Wylie gave the teenager twenty times the [prescribed] amount of Magnesium Sulfate. Christopher’s parents sued Option Care Pharmacy on Bandera Road and Wylie … The case was settled out of court … This was not the first time Wylie had been disciplined by the State Board of Pharmacy for a violation … Wylie declined to talk to us, but he now works at Walgreens…

Let’s look at pharmacist Philip Moreno. He just got off one year probation and has been disciplined twice for dispensing errors … In 2004, he gave a three month old ten times the prescribed dosage of Albuterol used for asthma. The infant went into convulsions … Moreno now works at the CVS on Nogalitos…

During our investigation, we noticed something even more disturbing. None of the pharmacies or pharmacists currently on probation for making one of these mistakes has anything posted to tell you that. Ironic, since even daycare centers have to post a sign when they’ve been put on probation. So, why not a pharmacy that can make a mistake that could kill you?…

These kinds of prescription errors are occurring all over the United States. The FDA and other governing bodies seem to think a slap on the wrist is sufficient punishment in many cases. The worst part is, pharmacists who habitually make mistakes are allowed to continue to prescribe medication.

So, how can you as a consumer protect yourself? Check your state’s Board of Pharmacy Web site. It can provide you with valuable information, including a list of pharmacists and pharmacies that have been reprimanded for misfilled prescriptions.

If you’re purchasing medications online, we believe your best protection is to become a member of eDrugSearch.com. eDrugSearch.com pre-screens all the pharmacies we permit in our database. All are licensed in their home countries and accredited by respected third-party organizations. Additionally, eDrugSearch.com’s community enables members to rate their service from pharmacies in our system, and to share their experiences with other members.

All consumers should take proper precautions before trusting a pharmacy — whether that pharmacy is online or on your street corner.


2 Responses to Pharmacy safety is not just an online issue

  1. [...] Would the FDA warn American consumers to not shop at the corner Walgreens because of what happened in San Antonio recently? No — in fact, they do very little to inform the consumer in such cases. [...]

  2. [...] Why pharmacies make such deadly mistakes Do you ever wonder how pharmacists can make deadly mistakes? Here’s one answer: [...]

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