Speed trap – speedy prescriptions might compromise safety


We realize waiting at the pharmacy to get your prescriptions filled can be frustrating, especially when you do not feel good. Well, to help decrease that frustration, some pharmacies came up with a marketing idea to reduce that frustration. They decided to give consumers a “15-Minute Promise” to fill up to three new prescriptions in 15 minutes or less. If the pharmacy does not keep the promise, the consumer receives a $5 gift card.

This promise sounds great, right? Well, this promise can lead to errors.

This promise makes the pharmacist speed-up the process of filling prescriptions. Unfortunately by speeding-up the process, the pharmacist may not have enough time to check the patient’s medication history or for possible drug interactions. It also may not allow enough time for the pharmacist to check with the doctor if there are any questions about the prescription. Most of all, it does not allow time for the pharmacist to meet with the consumer. This means the consumer most often won’t be properly educated about how to safely take the medicine.

Pharmacy chains that advertises speedy prescriptions needs to reconsider a promise like that. Even well-known national pizza chains no longer promise pizza deliveries in 30 minutes due to concerns about car accidents. This might seem like an unfair comparison since the 15-minute dispensing claim doesn’t involve deliveries. However, it is unfair to risk consumer safety by quickly filling prescriptions. Pharmacists need to spend time assuring prescriptions are appropriate for the patient and filled correctly so that errors are avoided. Claims by pharmacies which promise to dispense your medicine based on speed, should be carefully considered when getting a prescription filled.

Created on December 5, 2008

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