Local News

Drug Stores Accountable for Pharmacy Mistakes

Posted August 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

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

It may look easy but what Marcy Powell does as a Pharmacist for Kroger is hard 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 her job. She says Kroger doesn't overwork its pharmacists which can lead to mistakes.

"Kroger backs us up and makes sure that we are filling prescriptions correctly, 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 but received someone else's pills instead.

A hearing will be held next month in that case. At Kroger, student Amy Williams 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 how to take drugs properly. She says the new rule will increase public awareness and the public's trust of pharmacists.

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