Pharmacy Mixup; Am I Overreacting?

Updated on February 17, 2011
E.B. asks from Littleton, CO
10 answers

My teen dd has multiple medical issues and takes numerous medications. I only use one pharmacy so that I can keep her meds straight, and get advice on how she should take them (some are with food, some without, some are taken together, some can't be taken with others, etc). We moved last year, and I chose a large national pharmacy that happens to have a nice new store very near our new home, to fill all her prescriptions.

For an upcoming meeting, I require documentation of all her current medications. Last Friday I brought a new prescription into the pharmacy, and requested that along with filling the new prescription, the pharmacy print out a list of the meds, and show that they're ongoing long-term prescriptions and have a pharmacist sign it.

Yesterday afternoon they called to tell me the prescription was ready to pick up (it is not a common med and had to be special ordered). At the end of a long day, I stopped by. The prescription was in a bag, ready for me, and I asked to speak to the pharmacist to have it explained to me, in light of all of her other meds. He was very nice and told me how she should take it, when, etc.

There were 2 pages stapled together, folded the long way, inserted into the bag. He pulled those out, and looked at them. He said "oh, you must have asked for a list of her medications?" I said yes, I need them for an upcoming meeting, and he said "the pharmacist signed this, and this is all her medications with dates and what you paid". He looked it all over, and folded it and put it back in the bag. And I went home.

I don't need the list of meds until next week, so I didn't look at it immediately when I got home. I took out the new pills.

Then as I was putting away things from the day, I figured I should file the med list so I didn't misplace it.


What they gave me, is the complete name, address, list of doctors, list of medications and dosages, and date of birth of a completely different patient! The names both begin with the same letter, but they're no more similar than, say "Peterson" and "Pratt". They would not alphabetically follow each other or even be close. She doesn't live in the same town as us. She doesn't have a similar street name. She was born in 1946 and my dd is a teen. The first names are not remotely the same.

All her doctors are listed on there, and every pill she takes. They are not the same as my dd's, although they both do take one pill in common, and it's a very frequently prescribed drug. The others I've never heard of. They do not share any doctor in common.

And it's signed "Attested to by _______________, Registered Pharmacist" and not stamped, it's signed in ink.

Where is my dd's information? How could he give me my dd's prescription, look at this and not check the name? Does this family have my dd's information?

What should I do? It seems like it's more than simply returning it and saying "oh, I got this by mistake". Or is that all it is? I am very concerned but don't know if I'm overreacting.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for helping me to calm down. I went back to the pharmacy, and spoke with the manager. They confirmed that several mistakes had been made: I had been given this woman's information, and they had never printed my daughter's information as I had requested. He was very apologetic, and said he was going to call the other woman and report to her that her personal information had left the store. I now have the correct info. And I questioned the manager about their policies and procedures and he assured me the whole situation would be reviewed and would not happen again.

More Answers



answers from Baton Rouge on

Pharmacists and pharmacy techs are human and therefore subject to making errors. Because they are, I always make a point of checking everything carefully before I leave, just to be sure.
This sounds like it was simply an honest mistake.
I would just take the list back to the pharmacy and tell them, "You gave me someone else's list by mistake. I still need my daughter's list. Would you please look it up and print it out for me?" and let it go at that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

First of all it is a privacy issue regarding the other person and your daughter.

I would not over react but I would take the info back to the pharmacy because you should not have that info. Just explain that there is an error somewhere and ask for your dd Rx list.

People do make mistakes and it is good that you caught it. They do need to know about this mistake. Just have them fix it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

You should go back to the pharmacy and bring all of the packaging with you. Make sure that you speak to the pharmacist (not a tech or cashier) and show them the printout that you give. With all the HIPPA laws in place this is an egregious error on their part.

That being said, it is possible that the other patient received your daughter's printout. I would not be that worried about it - since you will be as anonymous to them as they are to you. Annoying yes, invasive - a little - but ultimately just one of life's little Snafus.

I would consider finding another pharmacy. I personally lean towards the smaller, neighborhood pharmacies where the pharmacist or pharmacist's family owns the drug store. I prefer the more personal attention and the fact that once you become a regular they remember you by name and face when they see you.

Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

It is concerning but mistakes happen. Either call or return to the pharmacy and explain the situation and then if you feel you can no longer trust the pharmacy pick a new one. I guess this is why doctors always tell you to check you pharmacy pick up prior to leaving just in case there is an error.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

While upsetting and unsettling, I'm was a mistake. It was not a life threatening mistake in this case.
I'd probably be more upset with myself for not verifying it while I was right there at the counter thereby causing need for yet another trip!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think you are overreacting. Even the best pharmacy in the world is going to make mistakes sometimes. Bring it back, ask for yours. They'll know the messed up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would be a bit peeved at the mix up too. Most likely the other patient also requested a list of their meds (for tax filing purposes), the pharmacist signed off on both but whomever stuffed the bags mixed them up. Annoying yes, and just as annoying for the other patient. Contact your pharmacy today to have the error corrected. They will also need to contact the other patient as well. I actually had a pharmacy mix up my RX with someone else's once. I take blood thinners so I was extremely alarmed for the other person and called the pharmacy right away so they could contact the other patient. The pills looked very similar but I've been taking them since 1999 and no all my meds. Thank God I do or it could have been a tragedy for the other patient as well as myself. I could/would die without my meds. Needless to say that was the last time we used that pharmacy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

This is specifically why I prefer a small family style owned pharmacy. They get to know you as a person, they know your meds, they know your allergies and what kinds of health issues could interact with a new med...

We do use Walmart for the prices and the $4.00 meds right now but if I were on any long term meds and had insurance and it wasn't hundreds of dollars different I would always go to the smaller local pharmacy's.

Once upon a time...we used a local pharmacy and the doc gave me a prescription for a pin med. The pharmacist took one look at it and called me to the desk and told the list of reasons I could not take this med.

I have a history of Ulcers and have had bad reactions with breathing difficulties with many forms of pain pills. She told me this med would eat up my stomach and i would not be able to breathe if I took it because I had had an ER visit before from the very same med but with a different name, generic probably.

She saved me money and perhaps a lot of health issues and maybe even my life from an asthma attack brought on by aspirin and other drugs int he pills.



answers from Chicago on

I understand your concern. I would ask to speak to the pharmacist in charge and explain your concern for privacy breech.

However, mistakes do unfortunately happen as they are human and how we react to these situations speaks of our character too.


answers from Redding on

This is why I don't use those giant chain pharmacies. I had to one time in the middle of the night and they were so cold and uncaring and way too many people working to ever be personal or careful. I also had to pick up some medication for someone else one day and found the exact same problems. Never saw the same face twice, and no one knew who was doing what. I did have a mix up in meds once at my regular pharmacy when the gal saw me coming and knows my name, she automatically went to the rolladex file and brought out the paper work for my husbands perscription that I was to pick up. She put it in the bag, I paid, and I ALWAYS take it back out of the bag and look at the name and the drug,, and it was the right name, but not at all the right meds. I was right there and was able to return it to them. The mix up was, there is a man in town with the exact same name as my husband, so we always look at the date of birth now. As far as the list of your daughters meds and info being in th hands of strangers, it's rather remote I'd guess. Whoever was in charge of clicking on the right file name to print out the info probably was just sidetracked by someone mentioning another name as they looked for your daughter's name and looked at the wrong one on a list, and printed it, and then stapled it to your other papers. Chances are the other person didn't recieve anything of yours. You do need to be careful no matter where you go for drugs but I wouldn't be too harsh on the pharmacy. I'd take the paperwork back in and tell them you asked for your daughter's, and received someone elses. I bet they say how sorry they are and thank you for coming back. But mostly I would start using a smaller more locally owned pharmacy and get to know them and let them get to know you.

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