Wrong drugs given by Pharmacy staff

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Which? has recently carried out a survey of 101 pharmacies in the UK regarding staff giving inappropriate and occasionally dangerous advice to patients.

The results of the Which? survey show that:

  • many pharmacy staff are not asking the right questions before selling medicine
  • it was most likely that independent pharmacies would give the wrong medical advice
  • pharmacy assistants did not alert the pharmacist before giving the drugs to the patient
  • in certain cases, their was a breach of patient's privacy when they were asked indiscreet questions in earshot of other patients

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society agreed that there were issues that needed to be addressed.

Pharmacists have extremely important responsibilities to make sure patients receive the right drugs. Only recently a Pharmacist and their assistant received a fine for giving a seriously ill patient who later died the wrong drugs. The gentleman was dispensed the wrong medication and it wasn't until 22 days later when he became ill that a nurse noticed the mistake.

An inquest earlier this year suggested the gentleman died of natural causes and Home Office pathologist Bryan Rogers said he was suffering end-stage liver sclerosis complicated by liver cancer. He said the prescribing mistake had not played a part in the death.

Pharmacists have a duty of care to all patients to prescribe the right medication and any breach of this duty can have serious consequences.


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