Epilepsy Talk

At Walgreens and CVS, Complaints of Medication Errors Go Missing | February 22, 2020

In Oklahoma, a State Board of Pharmacy released a complaint against a CVS pharmacy regarding a medication error made last year. The board took the rare step of citing the pharmacy in addition to the pharmacist involved in the error.

The Oklahoma board cited inadequate staffing in its investigation of the mistake, which involved a young man who received only one-fourth of his prescribed dose of anticonvulsant medication, according to the complaint.

The patient’s father discovered the error, but only after the young man had taken the incorrect dose for about 18 days, during which his seizures became more frequent and more violent, according to the complaint. His mother reported that during one seizure, he fell and gashed his forehead.

For more information, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/health/pharmacies-prescription-errors.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_200222&campaign_id=2&instance_id=15986&segment_id=21512&user_id=4b663372cdc4a3d8ec8b60230b50eec6&regi_id=277455930222

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  1. If possible, use an independent pharmacy where you come to know the employees personally. My insurance says CVS but the fine print allows me to talk to Mary Beth and Phil, and it makes all the difference.

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by HoDo — February 22, 2020 @ 11:06 AM

  2. A timely reminder to us all to work with our Pharmacist, thank you Phylis. I especially liked your 2013 article “why your pharmacist is your best friend.”

    I might just be lucky but I have used CVS for over 30 years and never had a dispensing error in all that time. I also like the computerized data bank that CVS uses to print out data relating to contraindications, warnings, interactions and so on. Independent pharmacies cannot usually provide such data routinely. I also found CVS useful in persuading my then insurance to pay for Dilantin rather than generic phenytoin. They have even “lent” me a few days supply while waiting for a renewed prescription. And no, I don’ get paid by CVS to plug them! I should add that I only pay a very small co-pay under my plan but for those who pay a substantial portion of their drug costs there are companies such as Publix in my area (Florida) that often charge lower prices than CVS.

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by Michael H — February 22, 2020 @ 1:49 PM

    • Also RxSavingsPlus is a free drug/prescription discount card, to help lower the price for medication.

      It can be used at CVS Pharmacy, Target, Rite Aid and 60,000 participating pharmacies nationwide.

      And it offers an average of 20% off the retail price of drugs. http://www.rxsavingsplus.com/

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 22, 2020 @ 2:30 PM

  3. Well I hate to be the barer of bad news!! I have always only went to one pharmacy. However I WAS THE ONE WHO CAUGHT THEIR MISTAKE NOT THEM!! I was put on generic medications for almost 5 years!! I am allergic to generic medications and sure enough ended up having a negative effect from them until I stopped and pulled out all of my old medication prescriptions and caught it myself!! I ended up with hyponatremia and everything went backwards for me. Even after I addressed it with my pharmacist he never believed me until I had him go through my files himself and then he caught it himself. I did however make another trip back to my family doctor and brought everything with me and she even said it was in my file there as well!! I was NEVER AND STILL VERY HESITANT TO GO TO MY PHARMACIST WITHOUT A FRIEND WITH ME AS WELL EVERY SINCE THEN!! I have actually even tried to contact a lawyer myself and for some reason I always have no ground to stand on!! Funny how they made me feel like I had a problem NOT THEM!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Kathy S.B — February 22, 2020 @ 2:25 PM

    • That kind of substitution when it is noted in your pharmacy prescription files AND your doctor’s files is unforgivable.

      It’s called a Patient Profile and any idiot should be able to follow one.

      And the fact that you paid such a high PHYSICAL price for their mistake, is DOUBLY UNFORGIVABLE.


      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 22, 2020 @ 2:37 PM

      • I COMPLETELY AGREE!!!!!!! Also recently he had my doctor switch me to combination of vitamin D and calcium to try and cut down on the number of pills I have to take a day. I bike out once again with a rash on my right hand. So I stopped taking it and the rash cleared up now. After my incident with the toperimate (which was generic for topomax) and a 3 month infection on my leg I am even MORE AWARE of whatever I ingest now!!!!! I sure wish when we tell our doctors, neurologists, and pharmacists we are allergic to something they would believe us and listen to us!!!!!

        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by Kathy S.B — February 22, 2020 @ 2:42 PM

  4. I admire & respect the parents of the unfortunate victim of the corporate vultures, who are more motivated in making profits at the expense of the helpless patients.
    It’s pleasing to see Oklahoma rooting for the desperate patients & their families, seeking medical remedy to their health difficulties.
    I get a lot of commercial advertisements all of the time to join CVS, Walgreens,,, but I never trusted those commercials & always ordered my prescriptions from the same hospital pharmacy I had for 20 years, building solid relationship with the pharmacists who work at the hospital.
    And the experience has been rewarding.

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — February 22, 2020 @ 5:57 PM

    • I think relationships are what it’s all about.

      Not this turn-style of exhausted pharmacists and technicians who are forced to grind out so many hundreds of prescriptions (each) a day.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 22, 2020 @ 6:11 PM

    • I COMPLETELY AGREE!! I wish MY PHARMACY WAS ABLE TO KEEP THE SAME PHARMACIST!! The funny thing is I’ve only ever gone to that pharmacy all my life and never had a problem until we got a change in pharmacists. Sad but true. Then I got really hurt at the same time and couldn’t even think to check until last year when it was or hopefully isn’t too late!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — February 23, 2020 @ 10:07 PM

  5. Wow! I knew patients needed to speak up when the generic meds weren’t working as well as the brand meds, but I can’t imagine this! My seizure meds, thankfully, are the only obese that have been an issue. My neurology teams have been cooperative over most of the forty-nine years since I’ve been diagnosed. My current pharmacy, which has filled my prescriptions for years, is staffed by professionals who wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing! Before I went to that pharmacy, I checked the bottles visualize before leaving that store.
    Right now, I’m coming to the last of a medication change-hopefully, I’ll be dropping from two to one. It looks really great. But I, the doc, and the best neurological N.P. ever, all decided on this. Then it’s taking about three months to go from the two of the drug that we’re dropping to none. Ever cut a capsule in half??? 😹 When I read this, I couldn’t help but worry about others who have to wonder what happened, and what ever became of professional standards. Or what kind of pressure there might be, and maybe a few of us are lucky.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by catsissie — February 23, 2020 @ 9:46 PM

  6. Goodevening 😊 maybe it’s was me and I became too complacent and trusting so I never thought to check because they all truly look the same!! My saving grace was that I keep ALL OF MY PRESCRIPTIONS ALWAYS!!!!!!! Thanks to my grandma I make a habit of it. I looked at the name of the medication on each prescription and caught it that way!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — February 23, 2020 @ 10:11 PM

  7. LOL 😂 my aunty, husband, children, and best friend ALWAYS SAY “I’M THE PAPER PERSON!!”.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — February 23, 2020 @ 10:12 PM

  8. I learned to take a picture of my written prescriptions before I gave them to the pharmacist and the after I picked up my prescriptions before I left the store. That way I could compare the two before I walked out of the pharmacy. Also I had my doctor write me a letter (with my clinics letter head) starring I am allergic to generic medications. But even at that I still check the medications now when I take them out of the punch pill pack just INCASE.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — February 24, 2020 @ 9:25 AM

  9. Once, with my then-doctor’s approval, but without my knowledge, the pharmacy switched prescriptions. Because the previous prescription had run out, there was no way to switch gradually, in considerable pain. My doctor just shrugged. “It doesn’t work for everyone.” Sometimes there is no “care” in “health care.”

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — February 24, 2020 @ 11:20 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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