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Drug Stores Accountable for Pharmacy Mistakes

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RALEIGH — North Carolina is the first state to adopt rules making drug stores accountablefor mistakes by a pharmacist who spends long hours behind the counter. Anational study shows four percent of those mistakes could seriously harm patients. Most pharmacists think the new rules are just what the doctorordered to keep everyone safe.

It may look easy but what Marcy Powell does as a Pharmacist for Kroger ishard work. She has to pay attention to every detail of the prescription she fills.

Additional duties require her to answer phone calls from doctors, insurance cases, customers, or even wrong numbers. But Powell enjoys herjob. She says Kroger doesn't overwork its pharmacists which can lead tomistakes.

"Kroger backs us up and makes sure that we are filling prescriptionscorrectly, that we are safe so their customers are happy," said Powell.

But some other companies are not as supportive of their pharmacists. Because of that the state's board of pharmacy will penalize drug stores when mistakes are made.

Reports are that pharmacists in the Phar-Mor store in Cary are overworked.The report goes on to say that one person came in to get steroid cream butreceived someone else's pills instead.

A hearing will be held next month in that case. At Kroger, student AmyWilliams says the new rule protects pharmacists and consumers.

Debbie Geller, a mother of three, agrees with the tougher standards.

Geller relies on Marcy Powell for counseling on drug interaction and howto take drugs properly. She says the new rule will increase public awarenessand the public's trust of pharmacists.

The new rules are also aimed at allowing the pharmacist to spend more timewith individual customers to make sure their needs are met.

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