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Preventing Pharmacy Errors

Pete Springer/OPB

When you get a prescription filled, you assume that the pills in the bottle are the ones that your doctor prescribed. But if there’s a mistake, the consequences could be serious. The Oregon Board of Pharmacy sent out a survey to about six thousand licensed pharmacists, trying to get a better idea about state of the industry and the pharmacists’ working conditions. About 20 percent responded. The results of the non-scientific study were surprising. About 75 percent of pharmacists working for chain stores said they felt working conditions did not promote patient safety. About 25 percent of those working in independent pharmacies said the same. Board member Ann Zweber told the Oregonian that the results concerned her greatly.

Chrissy Kopple with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) told us that the industry is working on programs to ensure quality and safety. And she said:

NACDS and individual chains will continue to work with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy to maximize patient safety and health…That objective is best achieved not through one survey, but rather through a longstanding commitment, time-tested insights and the best available information about the many factors that contribute to safety and health.

How much do you know about the place where you get your prescriptions filled? If you’ve changed pharmacies, why did you take your business elsewhere? Did a pharmacist ever make a mistake in dispensing your medication? What questions do you have about what’s being done to prevent pharmacy errors?


  • Ann Zweber: Member of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, instructor of Pharmacy at Oregon State University, part-time pharmacist at Bi-Mart
  • Joseph Lassiter: Pharmacy Professor at Pacific University, member of the Oregon Patient Safety Commission
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OPB | Broadcast: Feb. 22, 2012