Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Good Reason To Check Your Prescriptions

Pregnant Woman Gets Cancer Drug Instead of Antibiotic. Unfortunately, the drug was methotrexate, which stops cell division and has been used as an abortion drug (although it apparently causes more birth defects than abortions).

I go to Safeway for my prescriptions, and even with my slightly unusual name they have never once failed to ask for my birthdate, which is apparently one of the mistakes of this woman's pharmacy. And they ALWAYS confirm my prescription by the drug's name with me. Heck, the pharmacists and assistants at my local Safeway pharmacy know my medications by heart (probably due to the unusual name). Even so, I always check the label carefully to make sure that they've got the medicine and dosage right. Not because I've ever had a mess up, but because I know that pharmacists are human and therefore mess ups are inevitable. And also because I really prefer to know what I'm putting in my own body.

So in my view, while the Safeway pharmacist certainly bears the bulk of the blame, the woman who blindly took medicine without even checking the label first is definitely got some of that icky blame on herself, and her "Sorry's not going to cut it" response to Safeway's apology strikes me as more than a little hypocritical. She should be sure to look in a mirror and say that as well.

And for anyone out there who casually pops pills from their pharmacy without checking that the label and dosage are correct, let this be the wake-up call. Yeah, the consequences are unlikely to be quite as horrible as in this case, but do you want nasty drug consequences at all?