What role do pharmacists play in preventing prescription errors?

Prescription errors can cost you your life. Even the slightest misstep can have a damaging outcome that jeopardizes your quality of life.

Preventing such situations requires a joint effort between your health care provider, your pharmacist and yourself. Understanding the role your pharmacist plays in protecting you may give you a clearer idea of what to expect from your interactions.

Pharmacists should seek clarity

Your doctor writes more than one prescription each day. In fact, depending on the doctor, this number could reach the dozens. Because of this, it is imperative that your pharmacist thoroughly read each prescription, check it for errors and contact your doctor with any questions.

Confusion, if ignored, could mean the prescription you receive includes improper instructions, inadequate potency, too high of a concentration or it could even be a completely incorrect drug. Your pharmacist should contact your health care provider for clarification if any part of the prescription does not add up.

Pharmacists should educate

Your pharmacist is a critical part of your care team. You can learn a lot about safely using your prescriptions by listening to your pharmacist. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some questions you can ask a pharmacist include the following:

  • How should you store the medication?
  • What records about the drug should you include with your medical information?
  • How should you store the medication during travel?
  • How should you dispose of unused medication?

Learning about the medication you take can help you consume it correctly and with maximum effectiveness. Asking questions and developing a good relationship with your pharmacist could drastically reduce your risks of experiencing a negative outcome because of a prescription error.