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New Technology May Greatly Reduce Prescription Error

December 15th, 2009

A new technology which may significantly reduce the rate of prescription error is under development. Such errors affect an estimated 1.5 million Americans each year, causing discomfort, pain, debilitating side effects and even death.

Many of these errors take the form of the wrong medications being dispensed by pharmacist, the dispensing of dosages either higher or lower than prescribed and pharmacists neglecting to warn patients about the dangers of adverse effects or reactions with other medications a patient may be taking.

In some instances, the mistake occurs because of a miscommunication between doctor and pharmacist. That was the case recently when a teenager from Kentucky was prescribed an antibiotic for an infection stemming from an ingrown toenail. The pharmacist misread the doctor’s scrawled handwriting and failed to call the doctor to confirm the prescription. As a result, the patient was given not an antibiotic, but a strong antidepressant with a similar name.

Other times, the mistake is due to negligence in filling a prescription. A pharmacist may mistakenly grab the wrong bottle of medication or mislabel a prescription. The new technology, once developed, will help prevent such mistakes on the part of the pharmacist. The pharmacist, after filling a prescription, will scan the barcode on the prescription label into a machine. The bottle will then placed into the machine, which verifies that the pills contained in the bottle are in fact what the label states they are. The machine can purportedly tell whether a pill is counterfeit as well. Counterfeit medications are a growing problem plaguing developing countries around the world.

This technology is intended not only for patient safety, but to protect against liability for pharmaceutical mistakes. Such machines may soon become an integral part of modern pharmacies as a computerized check against human error. Pharmacies that choose not to use the technology, once it becomes available, may open themselves to increased liability when they make mistakes which harms patients.

Prescription medications are heavily regulated, and for good reason. Medications must be administered with the utmost of care. Even seemingly minor medical or pharmaceutical errors can pose grave consequences to patients and their loved ones. Nevertheless, accidents occur all too often.

The attorneys at have a long record of successfully representing victims of medical and pharmaceutical error. If you, or someone you know, have been injured because of being prescribed the wrong medicine, or other medical error, please contact us at for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to assist in all aspects of your litigation.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 and 2010-2015 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 - 2015.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after large pharmacy chains to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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