Pharmacists play an essential role in the well being of nursing home patients by filling physicians prescriptions and in many cases keeping track of all the medications each patient takes to assure there are no contraindications in mixing different drugs.
Obviously, keeping track of medications is an difficult but important job. Perhaps the first step towards assuring the safety of nursing home patients who are reliant on prescription drugs is for a pharmacist to assure that the drug contained within a package really is what it should be.
An Illinois pharmacist who repackaged drugs bound for nursing home patients will be spending time on ‘home confinement’. Pharmacist, Ted Thalmann of the The Medicine Shoppe in Edwardsville, IL pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge of misbranding a drug.
Thalmann admitted to repackaging bulk prescription drugs packed by a manufacturer into smaller blister packs that were labeled with the wrong expiration date.
In addition to six months of home confinement, Mr. Thalmann was also sentenced to perform 250 hours of community service in pharmacy field and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.
Read more about this case of intentional deceit by a pharmacist here.
In the above situation, no patients were injured as a result of Mr. Thalmann’s greed– and that really is what it boils down to. I’m sure that the individual packaging commanded a premium over the bulk medication.
Greed issues aside however, pharmacist role in dispensing medication is frequently an under-appreciated, yet crucial job. Too often, even seemingly small and unintentional errors result in patient injury or death due to pharmacy errors such as:
- Failure to advise or warn or potentially dangerous drug side-effects
- Improperly filled prescriptions
- Incorrect labeling of medication
- Incorrect medication dosage
- Filling multiple medications with known adverse reactions
- Failing to provide adequate instructions regarding use of a drug
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