Errors encouraged by fast pharmacy pace

A new investigation by USA Today suggests that corporate policies for retail pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS--which together fill almost one-third of all U.S. prescriptions--could promote errors by encouraging pharmacists to work at the highest possible speed. The newspaper, which looked at policies and alleged errors at the two retail chains, found related lawsuits and pharmacy board disciplinary actions in 10 states. In its analysis, it found that in cases of alleged errors, there were some common factors, including high prescription volumes, a shortage of pharmacists, reliance on technicians, incentive awards for pharmacists if they increase the volume of scripts filled, and a lack of face-to-face counseling for the majority of customers. In response to the investigation, Walgreens noted that it has spent almost $1 billion over the last 10 years on safety training and technology, and CVS noted that its error rate had been cut to "a small fraction of 1 percent" and was still falling.

To learn more about this investigation:
- read this USA Today piece

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