A study published by the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that pharmacy dispensing errors account for roughly 21 percent of all medication errors affecting patients. Medication errors might be more common than Pennsylvania residents might expect, but there are a number of safeguards to protect patients. Pharmacists catch a lot of mistakes that could harm patients, according to a professor at UC San Diego’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

There are steps patients can take to make sure they get the right drugs from the pharmacy. Patients should, for example, make sure the information the pharmacy has is accurate and up to date. By verifying date of birth, name and address, the patient and the pharmacist can be sure that the right person is getting the right pills.

Patients should also make sure the pharmacy is aware of any allergies, make sure the pharmacy knows of any other medications they are taking and ask for a translator if they need one. Pharmacies have software that is designed to alert the pharmacist if there is a potential for allergic reaction in a patient or if there is a potential negative drug interaction. Language differences can lead to medication errors that could be avoided with proper translation. It’s also important for patients to ask questions at the pharmacy. Pharmacists know a lot about drugs, and they’re among the most accessible medical professionals.

People who have suffered harm as a result of medication errors might be able to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney with experience in medical professional negligence law might be able to help by examining the facts of the case and identifying parties who may have liability. An attorney might attempt to negotiate a settlement with the other side or gather evidence and depose witnesses in preparation for trial.