These articles are not intended as legal advice and should not be used as such. When a legal question arises, the pharmacist should consult with an attorney familiar with pharmacy law in his or her state.
Ken Baker is a pharmacist and an attorney. He teaches ethics at the Glendale, Arizona, campus of Midwestern University, and risk management for the University of Florida. He consults in the areas of pharmacy error reduction, communication, and risk management. Mr. Baker is an attorney of counsel with the Arizona law firm of Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA. E-mail at [email protected]
Pharmacists are often reluctant to apologize. One fear is that lawyers may use their statements against them. Another fear is that they may be violating their own malpractice insurance policies. But there can be advantages to saying, "I made a mistake; I am sorry." A patient may be saved and a possibly explosive situation may be cooled. For most of us, it is the natural thing to do.
There are 2 measures of success every pharmacy should post on its wall. The first indicates percentage of QREs (quality-related events) in prescription fills, and the second measures the percentage of QREs caught before they reach the patient.
Thirty-nine states now have a tool to help pharmacists identify at least some questionable prescriptions and suggest when a patient may be doctor-shopping or pharmacy-shopping in order to obtain controlled substances. That tool is the state prescription monitoring program.