If the pharmacist provides the wrong medication or the right drug at the wrong dose, the consequences are often extremely dangerous and, at times, deadly. When the drugstore is extremely busy the pharmacist may fill 20 prescriptions or more every hour.
Some statistics reveal that approximately 1 to 5 percent of all prescription medications filled by pharmacist the United States involve some type of error. An error might involve an incorrect prescription label that provides the wrong directions. However, it may be the wrong medicine, especially drugs that sound alike or even those that have similar spelling when the pharmacist arranges all medications alphabetically on the drugstore shelf.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains active files on the drugs that are most commonly associated with common pharmaceutical errors. One common mistake involves filling a prescription of methylphenidate used as an proven treatment for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children for methadone (a dangerous narcotic prescribed for the treatment of heroin addiction).