Open prescription bag before you leave the pharmacy


It should never happen, but it's not unheard of for another patient's medication to somehow slip into your bag before you pick it up at the pharmacy. Bagging errors can happen when more than one patient's medications are in the pharmacy work field at the same time, often during the prescription packaging process. Pharmacists are well aware of this and most pharmacies do require that staff work on only one patient's medications at a time. Nevertheless, since bags containing prescription medications are not routinely opened at the point-of-sale, if an error does happen it may not be captured before the patient leaves the pharmacy.

Here's a tip to prevent such mix-ups from reaching you or a family member: First, be sure to look at the bag to make certain it has your name on it. Don't be surprised if pharmacy staff asks you for an address or birth date to help assure the proper patient is handed the bag. It's not at all uncommon for two people with similar names to have bags of medications waiting for pickup. Then, once you're assured the name is correct, be sure to either have the pharmacist open the bag and go over each medication with you (preferred). Or, alternatively, look at each label yourself, before you leave the pharmacy. We have heard from some patients who haven't done this. When they get home, they could wind up taking someone else's medications.

Created on June 6, 2011

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