Medication Errors

Medication Errors – Are they Likely to Increase In the Future?

Last month, Amazon purchased PillPack for just under $1 Billion.  The purchase seems to make sense for Amazon.  Pharmacies are a highly regulated business and Pillpack had undertaken the effort to have itself approved in some 49 states. Pillpack’s niche is that they sort the medication by the dose and package it into easy to open packets which fit into a dispenser. On their website, Pillpack says that medication errors are prevented through “secure and stringent systems” with multiple checks by “pharmacists.”

According to the New England Health Institute, every year in the United States, serious medication errors occurred in more than 7 million inpatient and outpatient combined. Recommendations to decrease medication errors often include recommendations of more pharmacist involvement.

Clearly, Amazon intends to compete in this space and Pillpack currently uses technology and robotics to fill these prescriptions. Certainly in this sector, use of robotics and automation are likely to increase.

According to the World Health Organization, factors that may influence medication errors include “overworked and fatigued health care professionals,”  “workload and time pressures,” “labeling and packaging,” and “repetitive systems for ordering, processing and authorization.” While robots are not supposed to become fatigued, we wonder whether the use of increased robotics and automation in this space will lead to more medication errors, or less. Only time will tell.

Todd C. Passman, P.A. handles personal injury cases serving Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida, and surrounding areas.

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