Mistakes in handling drugs in a pharmacy can have dire consequences for patients. Properly maintaining a drug is far more important than properly maintaining the furniture. Most of the issues with handling drugs come from a complete lack of information, and this is why we will talk about some of the biggest mistakes people make when storing and handling drugs in a pharmacy. Let’s get right into it.
Always Double-Check the Prescriptions
Constantly making sure that everything is in order is a vital aspect of pharmaceutical work. Mistakes can easily happen when there are a ton of acronyms that sound extremely similar. Avoid dispensing errors by comparing the written prescription and label to the one that is displayed on the computer screen. The best way of double-checking dispensing errors is by having other people do the checking. It can happen often that an employee has done the work but won’t check whether the information is correct because of their own confidence and bias. This is why it is recommendable for another person to check the work done again so that we would avoid such mistakes from occurring. Remember, it is better to be late rather than wrong and give an inappropriate drug to the patient.
Not Properly Reading the Medication Labels
There are tons of information that we need to know about medicine, and they are all written on the labels. Just by paying attention to the little details can we safely understand all of the vital information that we need about a certain product.
Different drugs will require different storage temperatures and different approaches to maintenance. Not to mention, they will have different expiration dates. All of this information is vital to the secure upkeep of medical goods. By properly lining them up in order of expiration date, you can make sure that people will take the ones that are closest to expiration and the ones that are furthest away from expiration are left for last.
Basically, there is a ton of room for little efficiency to be implemented to maximize the amount of money you gain and the products that get sold. Even more important, it will lead to fewer cases of customers being given faulty medicine.
Improper Physical Handling of the Products
It happens all too often that employees don’t properly handle the products they are carrying around. When you don’t put in the proper care to carrying pharmaceutical products you mess with the physicochemical stability of the products. This is why the employees must be properly trained to handle the transportation of all of these products.
For example, a vital thing to do for multi-dose vials is to keep them in their original packaging from the moment they are first used (and intended to be used again) and to make sure they remain closed until further usage. Not to mention, you also need to always keep track of how much is left in the vial and make schedule entries for temperature shifts. This is done to prevent the contamination of the product and to secure that the temperature always remains perfectly balanced for the longevity of the product.
Not Taking Into Account Critical Information
A lot of things that can go wrong aren’t related purely to the maintenance of drugs. The National Library of Medicine states that the most common medication system failures include:
- The Spread of Knowledge About Drugs
- Not Obtaining the Patient’s Allergy History
- Incomplete Order Checking
- Inadequate Communication
- Inaccurate Patient Information
- Improper Tracking of the Medication Orders and More
You must keep it a high priority to ask whether the patient is allergic to the prescribed drug, as well as understand whether the prescribed drug can affect people that have certain allergies or conditions.
Likewise, you have to constantly confirm whether the prescription is complete and 100% accurate. It has been proven that improper acronym usage leads to the use of different (and not necessary) medicine.
Sheryl Szeinbach has said that dispensing errors include any problems or differences from the recommended medicine in the prescription order. This can include dispensing a wrong drug, taking the wrong dose, its form, messing up the quantity, or any form of misleading or flat-out wrong labelling.
Not Monitoring the Storage Location Temperature
Despite what some pharmacists do, you should not take a random room and make it the storage room without a second thought. Different locations have different temperatures, and an ideal temperature setting is mandatory for the efficiency and usability of the drugs. For thermolabile drugs, you should always control the temperature, humidity, and luminosity. The temperature should be between 15ºC and 25ºC, while the humidity should be between 40% and 60%. But while the outside temperature is important, you also need to keep the inside temperature of the fridge constantly stable. Since the usability of the drugs is primarily determined by the fridge, you should make a proper working drug fridge a priority.
A strict inventory management system is needed to be in place in order to avoid problems from arising. Specialized software is necessary to keep everything running smoothly and on track. Imagine if you are delivering a “fresh” batch of medicine that is going to expire within 2 weeks. It will not only damage your reputation as a pharmacist but it will make your customers turn away from your competitors. So, always keep proper quality control in check and manage your inventory.