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Danger in your pill bottle! 😨

Lately, I've noticed similar stories and reports popping up in various places... Pharmacists working in drugstores complaining about their high workload and pressure to fill a certain number of prescriptions per day, like the piece below.

It is so scary and upsetting, because, just like what's been happening in the hospitals, patients pay the high price (literally with money, and figuratively with pain, suffering, or lives) unless they can make sure the clinicians are actually doing what they are supposed to be doing for the patients (or have a family member or patient advocate do that for them). Of course, almost no clinician make mistakes intentionally, but it is the effect of the US profit-driven healthcare SYSTEM. For most pharmacies and facilities in US, PATIENT SAFETY is simply NOT their first PRIORITY (despite of whatever they may say)...

In other words, patients and healthcare consumers must pay attention to make sure the clinicians aren't making a mistake (until we get a different kind of healthcare system... I'm praying that some changes will happen in 2021! But for now,) here is a short list of what you should do to protect yourself.

  • Know your medication names (both brand name and genetic name, if possible) and the reason why you should take it (very important!)

  • Each time you receive a pill bottle, verify your name (also DOB if your name is common) and correct medication name are there.

  • In case you see a medication that looks different or off (even though you see the correct name on the bottle), go to a pill identifier (there are many sites that's free and easy to use, such as (I like their free app also), WebMD and make sure it's indeed the correct medication!

  • If suspicious, be sure to alert the pharmacist. If you ended up taking a wrong medication, contact the prescriber (doctor) immediately. You should also report the incident to state pharmacy boards.

Alternatively, you can reach out to a patient advocate who can help people learn these skills and protect themselves and their families. This won't take many hours but will be a priceless investment for your health and peace of mind.

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