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Beware Pitfalls of Electronic Prescribing

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Q. My son was prescribed amoxicillin for an ear infection. The prescription was sent electronically to the pharmacist. The pharmacy gave us prednisone with the wrong doctor’s name on the script. Even the address was wrong.

The pharmacy clerk tried to talk me into taking the prednisone. Then she said there were two meds that were prescribed--amoxicillin and prednisone.

The pharmacist finally called the doctor to confirm the prescription (which was for amoxicillin). The pharmacist explained the problem as “computer error.”

Our doctor will not give me a paper prescription any more because the office just transmits it electronically. I think from now on I’ll ask the doctor to write down for me the medicine and the dose. That way I will make sure what I pick up at the pharmacy is what the doctor prescribed.

A. Even the best computer programs rely on humans for input and interpretation, and that unfortunately still leaves room for mistakes. It is unconscionable that the pharmacy tech tried to cover up the mistake and give you the wrong drug.

Your idea of getting the name and dose of the medicine written down for you is excellent. We suggest that everyone who gets a prescription called in, faxed in or electronically transmitted make sure they have all the details on their drug in writing before leaving the doctor’s office.

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Thank you fro your help.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: PUT THE MILK OF MAGNESIA ON YOUR SCALP, RUB IT IN AND LET IT STAY THERE FOR 5 MINUTES. THEN SHAMPOO IT OUT.

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