Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) November 6, 2017 – Leading national pharmacy chains have updated their safety measures to prevent dangerous drug interactions that could harm patients.
The sweeping changes are the result of a Chicago Tribune investigation that found 52 percent of pharmacies in the Chicago area dispensed risky drug combinations without warning patients about potentially harmful interactions. CVS failed to caution consumers 63 percent of the time, the highest rate among the 255 independent and chain pharmacies tested.
After the report was published in December 2016, CVS upgraded the computer system at its 9,700 stores nationwide to improve patient safety. Pharmacists must now warn patients or consult with the prescribing doctor when an alert shows up for serious drug interactions. The computer system prevents pharmacists from selling medication until they take the required action. Around 30,000 pharmacists and 50,000 technicians received training on the new safety protocol.
“Pharmacies are finally taking steps in the right direction to make significant improvements that address the growing risk of people taking multiple medications that could potentially have harmful, and even fatal, effects,” commented Briskman Briskman & Greenberg medical malpractice attorney Paul Greenberg. “Patients have a right to know about dangerous drug interactions, and it is the pharmacist’s duty to provide that information to them.”
Walgreens announced that it conducted additional training on dangerous drug interactions with the company’s 27,000 pharmacists. Costco, Kmart and Wal-Mart have also updated their computer systems and trained their pharmacists in order to boost patient safety.
While national pharmacy chains have adopted new measures to reduce the number of people hospitalized each year due to dangerous drug interactions, local chain Jewel-Osco did not provide any details about changes implemented after last year’s Tribune report. Investigators found the Chicago pharmacy failed to warn consumers about dangerous medications 43 percent of the time.
According to a statement Jewel-Osco released to the Tribune, “Technological and operational adjustments have been made to assist and monitor our pharmacists as they perform their jobs to ensure patient safety.” The pharmacy did not specify the changes involved. Mariano’s, another local pharmacy chain, now requires all of its pharmacists to undergo training in drug interactions, drug allergy contraindications and other patient safety concerns.
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