Bill required pharmacies to report prescription errors sent to Newsom

California state lawmakers approved a bill Thursday that would require pharmacies to report every prescription error — a move aimed at reducing the estimated 5 million mistakes that pharmacists make each year.

The bill — AB 1286 — still must be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has not indicated whether he supports it. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Times Details early this month How Californians Have Been Harmed by Errors Made by Pharmacists, Most of them Happening at Chain Pharmacies Like CVS and Walgreens. Pharmacists at those stores often fill hundreds of prescriptions during a shift, as well as administer vaccinations, call doctors to confirm prescriptions and work the cash register.

A Survey of California Licensed Pharmacists In 2021, 91% of those working at chain pharmacies said staffing was not high enough to provide adequate care to patients.

The bill, authored by Assemblymember Matt Haney, a San Francisco Democrat, would require pharmacies to have a technician or clerk to assist the pharmacist most of the day.

Oppose it California Community Pharmacy CoalitionA lobbying group representing retail pharmacies, including large chains.

Chain pharmacies say errors are rare and have measures in place to keep patients safe.

The state Board of Pharmacy sponsored the bill The board, which regulates pharmacies, said it does not know whether the number of prescription errors is increasing or decreasing because pharmacies are not required to report them.

The Times found that the errors included cases where pharmacists gave customers the wrong medication, a dose that was too high or too low, or dangerously incorrect instructions for taking the medication.

Some mistakes have been serious. 9,000 Americans die each year due to prescription errors, According to one study.

Under the bill, error reports would not be published. Instead, pharmacies will send them to a third party, which will provide de-identified information to the Board of Pharmacy.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, which was among the groups supporting the bill, applauded its approval by lawmakers Thursday.

UFCW Local 135 President Todd Walters said, “We’ve seen our member pharmacy workers become increasingly overwhelmed by their workloads over the past few years and it’s time that California reduces the number of factors that can lead to medication errors in our community pharmacies.

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