A pharmacy provided children with breast cancer medication rather than fluoride pills. Though the type of medication probably will not lead to adverse effects from taking of the incorrect medication, nevertheless this was a medication error that should never have occurred. Unfortunately, this type of error has occurred in Pennsylvania as well.
It is believed that only a few children actually ingested the wrong medication, but the cancer medication may have been distributed to as many as 50 families between December 1st and February 20th. The New Jersey Attorney General's office is investigating the matter and has ordered the pharmacy to provide an explanation as to how such an error could have occurred.
Medication errors are often the result of misinformation or simple clerical mistake. Often nurses and pharmacy staffs simply cannot read a doctor's handwriting and do not take the steps to clarify that they are providing the correct medication. At other times, such errors come about because the wrong dosage is assigned.
It needs to be emphasized that such errors can result in severe injury or even death. It's because consequences can be so severe that we need to make certain that such errors never do occur. Medical and pharmacy staff must implement safety procedures to prevent such simple but potentially tragic errors from occurring. It's when such errors do occur that injured parties and their attorneys are going to bring a medical malpractice claim.
The pharmacy is said to be "actively investigating this matter to determine how the mistake occurred" and plans on then taking corrective actions.
Source: Syracuse.com, "N.J. CVS accidentally gave breast cancer medication to children," March 4, 2012