We have previously written about the dangers of accidentally dispensing the wrong prescription medications to the wrong patients. Pharmacies are carefully designed and regulated in order to avoid making these crucial mistakes.
For this reason, it is especially troubling to hear about a pharmacy making a major prescription drug error. Investigators are currently trying to discover why one pharmacy in northern New Jersey mistakenly dispensed incorrect and potentially dangerous medication to the families of as many as 13 children.
Investigators say that a CVS pharmacy in Chatham experienced a mix-up wherein orders for fluoride tablets were dispensed with another medication included. The similar-looking medication is called Tamoxifen, and it is frequently used to help fight certain kinds of cancer.
The company originally worried that as many as 50 patients may have been given the wrong medication. A statement from the director of public relations for CVS revised and lowered that estimate. He said that an investigation by the company causes them to “believe 13 prescriptions for 0.5 mg fluoride pills were dispensed with a few Tamoxifen pills mixed in due to a single medication restocking issue at our pharmacy.”
Thankfully, there have not yet been any reports of injury or illness associated with the mix-up, and the CVS representative said the company has contacted most of the families who may have received incorrect medication.
But state agencies are not taking chances. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation and has ordered CVS to turn over relevant information and documents.
With increased record keeping and safeguards in place, it is somewhat rare to have a prescription error of this magnitude. But because these protections should be in place, an error this size is especially unacceptable.
Hopefully, any patients who suffer injury as a result of the mix-up will seek out and be awarded appropriate compensation.