Skip to Content

Taking the Right Medication?

February 1, 2013 | Category: Prescription Errors | Share

Take the Right Medication"Billions of prescriptions are processed each year.  When medications are picked up from pharmacies, we expect them to be the right medication with the correct instructions. However, 1.3 million people in the United States are injured each year because of medication errors." says Southwest Florida Prescription Error Attorney, Randall Spivey, Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. "These errors may occur from pharmaceutical companies and/or pharmacies."


Pharmaceutical Companies

Prescription errors may start with the pharmaceutical company producing the product.  For example, on January 18, 2012 MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program issued an alert that Advanced Pharmaceutical Inc. is recalling "one lot of Ferrous Sulfate Tablets 325 mg after a pharmacist notified them that a bottle of the tablets actually contained Meclizine HCI 25 mg tablets under the label of Rugby Natural Iron Supplement.  According to the alert, the Meclizine toxicity may lead to dose-related serious adverse events including impaired alertness, drowsiness, confusion, low blood pressure, coma and respiratory depression.  Without supportive treatment the toxicity has the potential of being life-threatening.  Should Meclizine HCI be taken as the iron supplement, it may cause serious side effects to those consuming alcohol or other sedatives, those with a pre-existing CNS disorder, with imprinted kidney or liver function, the elderly, nursing infants of lactating mothers and newborns of mothers receiving the drug immediately before childbirth."



Pharmacy errors may also occur as a result of:


  • Confusion in filling prescriptions 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent out an alert to pharmacists and health care professionals, December 2011, regarding potential injury "due to confusion between the FDA-approved eye medicine Durezol (dilfluprednate ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05% and the unapproved prescription topical wart remover Durasal (salicylic acid) 26%".

In June 2011 the FDA alerted the public to medication error reports because Risperdal (risperidone) was given instead of Requip (ropinirole) and vice versa because of the similarity of the names, container labels, carton packaging, and overlapping product characteristics such as drug strengths, dosage forms and dosing intervals. Some patients receiving the wrong medication were hospitalized.

Ambiguous medical abbreviations have also created problems. The FDA and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) launched a campaign to reduce medical mistakes.  The ISMP updated in April 2012 their List of Error-Prone Abbreviations, Symbols, and Dose Designations.

Unclear doctor instructions which are not verified with doctor offices before filling prescriptions.

  •  Prescription dispensing machines 

Pharmacies have become very competitive and resort to cost-cutting measures putting profits over safety.  Prescription dispensing machines are often utilized instead of human beings.  This can result in significant errors. 

  •  Wrong information on label 

Failure to identify drug interactions or drug allergies.

  •  Patient given someone else's prescription.
  •  Patient's name on container but someone else's prescription inside the container.


How Do You Avoid Becoming A Victim of Prescription Errors?

We can't always protect ourselves from every eventuality when it comes to prescription errors, but there are some things that patients can do to lessen the likelihood:

  • Before leaving the pharmacy, check all prescriptions - be sure the label is correct and the contents match the label. Some prescriptions have a picture showing the name of the medication, the size, shape and color. 
  • Be sure you understand the instructions and side effects i.e. when to take the medication, and how much to take .


What Should You Do If You Are a Victim of Prescription Error?

If you should suffer even minor side effects, check to be sure it's the correct medication; notify your physician, and notify the pharmacy.  Even minor injuries because of  medication errors should be reported.  


Prescription Error Attorney,  Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by less than 2 percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 1,500 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at  239. 337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit  for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.

Contact Us


Spivey Law Firm Logo Spivey Law Firm 13400 Parker Commons Blvd.
Fort Myers, Florida 33912

(239) 337-7483

Free Consultation