Latebreakers: USA Today puts focus on medication errors

March 10, 2008

USA Today series draws attention to the role of technicians and corporate policies in contributing to medication errors at chain pharmacies.

Pharmacists are talking about a series of articles on drug errors published in USA Today in February. With articles on chain pharmacies' focus on speed, reliance on technicians, and out-of-court settlements of medication error lawsuits, the series has put pharmacy work conditions in a harsh spotlight, focusing on staffing issues and time to dispense as among the contributing factors for drug errors. The articles also included a debate over whether chain pharmacy corporate policies contribute to medication errors or prevent them. "These articles highlight the importance of the pharmacy team and point the way to doable solutions," said Melissa Corrigan, R.Ph., CEO of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Steve Anderson, NACDS president & CEO, praised the chain pharmacies involved in the series and called it a "fair and accurate portrayal of pharmacy processes and operations."