Medication Safety Articles


A pharmacy almost dispensed the wrong birth control pills when filling a prescription. The near miss involved Tarina FE 1/20 EQ (norethindrone acetate, ethinyl estradiol, and ferrous fumarate) and Cyred EQ (desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol). Both birth control pills are made by Afaxys Pharma and come in similar-looking packages. The 28-day calendar packs come in pink and white pouches that look nearly identical. The cartons, which contain 3 calendar packs, also have the same pink and white color scheme.

Your prescription medicine may not be available at the pharmacy due to a drug shortage. This problem can happen for many reasons. Sometimes the company that makes the medicine does not have enough of one of the ingredients. Other times, the company has stopped making your medicine altogether.

Consumers can often spot a medication error by knowing what to expect. This includes knowing what medicine has been prescribed (for example, the name and dose), what the medicine looks like, and what side effects to expect. The following reported error and great catch shows the importance of knowing about the medicine you take.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many doctors have switched from in-person appointments to virtual appointments with their patients using the phone or a computer video call. Virtual appointments, also known as telemedicine, can usually replace in-person visits effectively for consultations and for examinations that do not require close physical contact. They allow doctors to provide clinical services to their patients using electronic communications, without requiring patients to come into the office. Doctors are doing this to maintain physical distancing because COVID-19 can easily be spread from one person to another. Hospitals and clinics are also using telemedicine to communicate with patients and families.

In March 2020, the US declared a national state of emergency to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Since then, the loud and consistent message has been to “stay at home” and to only visit the doctor if necessary. Public health officials now fear that the “stay-at-home” message has inadvertently caused another health crisis—a dangerous drop in childhood vaccinations.

Many consumers have already bookmarked certain internet sites to help guide them to reliable information during the COVID-19 outbreak. The following websites should be included as primary resources because they provide the most accurate information about how to protect yourself and what to do if you become sick.

The pharmacy label on your prescription medicine has important information. It identifies you as the person who will be taking the medicine and tells you how to use your medicine properly and safely. Adding a label to medicines such as tubes of creams, small bottles of liquids or eye drops, and inhalers can be difficult. In these cases, the label is sometimes placed on the outer carton or package that contains the medicine.

Why is it important for pharmacy staff to ask for your birthdate, address, or other identification every time you pick up a filled prescription? It is a way to help make sure that medicines are handed to the right person.

After nearly 2 weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit, a newborn baby was discharged to home with a prescription for liquid phenobarbital (20 mg per 5 mL) twice a day to prevent seizures. Before leaving the hospital, the baby’s doctor reviewed the prescription with the parents. He made sure the parents knew the baby’s dose (6.5 mg) and how much of the liquid medicine to give the baby for each dose (1.6 mL).

Today, 33 states plus the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) have legalized medical marijuana (and 11 states plus DC have legalized recreational use of marijuana). Medical marijuana is different than the street product. With medical marijuana, growers must confirm the products’ contents, so this information can be passed on to dispensaries and patients. However, each state has its own regulations for medical marijuana. This has resulted in a wide variety of medical marijuana products and safety concerns, particularly with the labeling of these products.

Medication Safety Alerts

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