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New York auditors reveal prescription errors and abuse

The New York State Comptroller's Office recently sent auditors to review and examine records for prescriptions dispensed in the state. The auditors looked at over 22 million prescriptions and unfortunately discovered medication errors on a substantial number of those prescriptions, roughly 1.5 percent of the review amount.

Auditors found different types of errors ranging from unlicensed prescriptions to fillings beyond the authorized amounts. Over 90,000 prescriptions were refilled 157,000 times above the refill quantities listed. Other prescriptions weren't even written by doctors with authentic medical licenses or did not contain a valid Drug Enforcement Registration number.

As for the unauthorized refill issue, many of the prescription numbers popped up at different pharmacies, meaning they were filled at different locations. Some also contained inconsistent names regarding the prescriber.

The prescription database is maintained by the Bureau of Narcotics enforcement, which is determined to help put an end to the prescription errors by locating the source of the mistakes and abuse. These errors often appear on painkiller prescriptions and can lead to drug addictions.

Doctors, as well as pharmacists, need to be aware of the potential for prescription and medication errors. Up to date and real-time computerized data can assist medical professionals in writing accurate prescriptions and avoiding complications with those who are attempting to abuse the system. Such awareness may also help prevent medical staff from being subject to any malpractice claims for negligently prescribing medicine to someone known to have a tendency to abuse the drugs. Doctors must maintain a standard of care when it comes to providing treatment and medications for patients. Being aware of the potential for abuse is part of this responsibility.

Source: Buffalo News, "State auditors find thousands of errors in prescriptions," Nov. 21, 2012

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