Medicine Safety Tips

When You Are at the Pharmacy

While pharmacists do their best to avoid making a mistake while filling a prescription, it is possible an error may occur. Sometimes the error is identified before the medicine leaves the pharmacy, but it is not. This means a person may leave the pharmacy with the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage of medicine. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure you don’t take the wrong medicine or dose. In fact, you play a very important role in keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. Use the safety tips below as a guide when getting prescriptions filled at your local pharmacy. 

Keep These Tips in Mind When Picking up Medicine at the Pharmacy!

When you arrive at the pharmacy to pick up your medicine:

Know whose prescription medicine you are picking up at the pharmacy. Make sure you know the generic and brand name (if applicable) of the medicine your doctor prescribed, what the dosage is, how to take it, and why you need to take it. If the prescription was sent to the pharmacy through the computer, be sure to bring a copy of the prescription (if available) with you or any other information about the medicine that your doctor gave you. This way you will have the information written down. You will then be able to compare the information to make sure you are given the correct medicine.

Identify yourself. Give the person at the pharmacy counter your full name and date of birth when picking up medicines. If you are picking up medicine for someone else, make sure you provide their full name and their date of birth. Always provide two forms of identification (name and date of birth).

Ask to speak to the pharmacist if the medicine is new. Any time you are prescribed a new medicine, ask to speak with the pharmacist when you pick up your prescription. Your pharmacist can tell you important information about the medicine. For example, you may need to take it with food, you may need to take it at a certain time of day, or you may need to avoid sun exposure.  

Open the bag. One of the most important steps you can take is to open the bag of medicine before you leave the pharmacy. By opening the bag, you can make sure the medicine is what you expect. In addition:

Update your contact information. Be sure your pharmacy has your current phone number/s, email address, and any emergency contact information. If the pharmacy detects an error with your medicines after you leave, they will need to contact you.

Use only one pharmacy, when possible. It is best to get all of your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy. This will allow your pharmacist to check for medicines that may interact with each other or that you already take (i.e., a different named medicine that treats the same condition). If you use one pharmacy or more than one pharmacy, provide each of them with an: