A Colorado woman has expressed fear over the health of her unborn baby in the wake of an egregious pharmacy error at a Safeway supermarket in the Denver area. The pharmacy mistakenly gave the woman the powerful drug methotrexate, rather than the simple antibiotic she was prescribed. Methotrexate is sometimes referred to as a “drug of last resort,” due to its potentially serious side effects. To make matters worse, the patient was six weeks pregnant at the time she was provided the incorrect medication, a time during which an embryo may be particularly susceptible to an untoward outcome.
Although this story is shocking in many ways, pharmacy error is appallingly common. Many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are overworked and do not have time to adequately ensure prescriptions are being filled correctly. Unfortunately, many (if not most) patients lack the independent, sophisticated knowledge required to identify an error on their own. Instead, they rely on their neighborhood pharmacy to get their prescription right, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Take steps to protect yourself and your family from this alarming trend. Be sure to ask questions of the pharmacist, and take your time when getting your prescription filled. It may seem like a hassle, but your health and safety is worth it.