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Pennsylvania Pharmacist Admits Prescription Error “Happens All the Time”

December 8th, 2009

Not long ago a man visited a Sam’s Club pharmacy in western Pennsylvania to fill his prescription for Niaspan, a blood-pressure medication. Instead he was given Naproxin, a strong anti-inflammatory drug. After taking just one pill as instructed by his physician he began to feel feverish and ill. After about forty-five minutes, the man’s wife called the physician, who—believing his patient was having an adverse reaction to Niaspan—instructed the man to cease taking the pills. After examining the prescription bottle, the man’s wife discovered the error and alerted the doctor to the mix up.

When the couple contacted the pharmacy, they expected to hear an apology and an expression of concern on the part of the pharmacist. Instead, and to their horror, the pharmacist responded “Oh, this happens all the time.”

Unfortunately, he’s right. Just a few weeks ago, an eight-year old child was made severely ill when a Missouri pharmacy mistakenly gave him Methadone, a powerful narcotic, instead of Methylin, a generic form of Ritalin. And a recent study by the Ohio State University estimates nearly two-million such errors are made each year.

There are several ways these errors can arise. In the cases above, the evidence implies negligence on the part of the pharmacist. Prescription medications are usually stored alphabetically behind the pharmacy counter and it’s likely the pharmacist grabbed the wrong bottle when filling the prescription. This makes it extremely important to read prescription labels before taking medication for the first time. Make sure you’ve received the right medication that the pills in the bottle match the description provided by the pharmacist.

The administration of pharmaceuticals is a responsibility which must be undertaken 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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