CVS/Pharmacy Agrees to Hire Safety Group to Oversee Its Medicine Dispensing Practices after Numerous Prescription Errors

Following complaints of 80 prescription errors in 2005, CVS/Pharmacy, the largest drug chain in Massachusetts, has agreed to be overseen by a non-profit group that will employ unannounced inspections and other monitoring methods to examine how the store fills and dispenses prescriptions.

According to the state Board of Pharmacy, CVS dispensed the wrong prescriptions 62 times in 2005. The chain also accumulated 80 prescription mix-up complaints out of a state-wide total of 148 (54%).In response to these troublesome allegations, CVS has agreed to hire the Institute of Safe Medication Practices, a non-profit patient safety group, to evaluate its protocols for filling prescriptions.

Presently, the state of Massachusetts only becomes aware of a prescription mix-up when a consumer files a complaint. State Sen. Susan C. Tucker (D-Andover) has filed a bill that would force drug stores to inform the Department of Public Health every time they made the mistake of handing out incorrect prescriptions.

Eventually, Tucker hopes that accurate record keeping will lead to the creation of a Web site that would allow the public to have direct access to a store’s safety record.

Tucker says the prescription errors are not limited to CVS. In fact, a 50 year-old Andover resident spent a day in the hospital and weeks recovering after receiving the wrong heart medication from Brooks Pharmacy.

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