This study was also prone to several other limitations. First, we were unable to detect all potential sources of errors in the dispensing information. For example, only one type of error on dates was detectable (ie, when the pharmacist’s dispensing date preceded the date written on the prescription by the physician). Second, we were unable to verify whether there was any discrepancy between the medication actually dispensed and that entered into the pharmacy computer and appended to the back of the prescription. Twenty-two of the 37 errors could have had an impact on the patient, but most were likely to be minor. This is consistent with other studies that show that most medication errors have little potential for harm. buy diabetes drugs
In only one case was an incorrect drug dispensed; sulfacetamide sodium (Sodium Sulamyd, Schering, Pointe-Claire) ohpthalmic ointment was dispensed in place of gentamicin sulfate (Garamycin Ophthalmic, Schering, Pointe Claire), which probably had minor health consequences. While some dispensing errors can be of potentially serious consequence to a patient’s health , we are unaware of documented error rates for dispensing in the community. Our sense is that they are infrequent because, in Ontario, the practice of pharmacy is strictly regulated by the Ontario College of Pharmacists. Every pharmacy is routinely inspected by College inspectors every three years to ensure the maintenance of quality in the dispensary (eg, equipment, cleanliness, library, record keeping etc). The College also has a ‘Quality Assurance Program’ to assure the competence of practising pharmacists. This program samples 20% of the licensed pharmacists in Ontario every year and approximately 10% of those are mandated to participate in a comprehensive practice review process.