Jacksonville, Florida (JusticeNewsFlash.com – News Report) – Having your wisdom teeth removed in your teenage years is rather common and simple. You get anesthesia, the dentist takes out the teeth, and you are taken home to rest in bed on painkillers for a few days. Easy, right? Not for the case of Sophia Huntington, who after having four wisdom teeth removed and days of immense pain, discovered that her Walgreen’s bottle of painkillers said ‘ibuprofen.’ Her dentist had prescribed ‘vika-profen’ (a mix of vikaden and ibuprofen) but the pharmacy had misread or mis-filled. And although she had endured much pain, her case was nothing like that of first-grader Gabrielle Hundley who took her two morning pills of what she thought was Ritalin, which actually was Glynase – a medication used to lower diabetics’ blood sugar. The drug caused Gabrielle’s sugar level to plummet so severely that she suffered permanent brain damage. The jury in that case awarded $16 million to the little girl and her family.
Of course, it is expected that mistakes will be made when the pharmacy is busy, but there is no reason for the technicians and certified pharmacists cannot double check that the prescription matches the label on the bottle. Other factors that contribute to errors are the many new drugs flooding the market. This is due to a program launched in 1992 under which the FDA shortened its drug-approval times. In the past two years alone, 92 new drugs entered the market, compared to the last five years when there was a total of 131 new drugs approved. A survey was conducted in June 1996 studying 3,361 pharmacists in California and Oregon. Results revealed that dispensing errors were occurring at a rate of 324 per pharmacy annually. That is almost one mistake per day! In addition to a highly stressful environment and new drugs, the overall prescription volume is continually on the rise. According to IMS America, it is up 30% within the past five years.
This is truly a call for action – the people must make a mandatory requirement for the pharmacy’s to use only certified pharmacy technicians. There needs to be a law created on how many prescriptions per hour a pharmacist’s is allowed to process. It seems the longer they work and more tasks they attempt to handle – the more mistakes are committed, the more lives taken.
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Jana Simard is a contributing writer for Justice News Flash with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. Born in Canada, but raised in sunny south Florida, Jana had an early passion for writing. During her high school and college years she interned at a Florida Congressman's office as well as a Rhode Island Governor and Senator's office. While in her last two years of college, Jana spent six months in Salamanca, Spain where she truly discovered her passion for writing and had her articles published in her school's newspaper. Her experience in two Providence high profile law firms has equipped her with the ability to write for Justice News Flash as a Legal Reporter.