After the prescription is labeled, check the
ingredients again by some systematic method to
As an added precaution and to aid expeditious
identification of drugs, in case of undesirable
effects, note the manufacturer and the lot number
of the proprietary drug dispensed on the prescrip-
tion. This procedure does not apply when the
medication consists of a mixture of several
ingredients. The initials or the code of the
person filling the prescription must be on the
Prescriptions that have
be maintained in one of
been filled must
1. Schedule II and III narcoticsPrescrip-
tions containing narcotics are numbered con-
secutively, preceded by the letter N, and
2. Alcohol (alcoholic beverages are no longer
dispensed)These prescriptions are numbered
consecutively, preceded by the letter A, and
3. Schedule 111 (non-narcotic), IV, and V
drugsThese prescriptions are numbered in the
same manner as and are part of the general files;
however, they are maintained separately.
4. General files-All other prescriptions are
numbered consecutively and filed together.
Make sure that all prescriptions are written
in black or blue-black ink or indelible pencil,
or typewritten, and are kept on file for at
least 2 years after the date of issue.
WHERE AND WHY
PRESCRIPTIONS GO WRONG
Contrary to common belief, errors in prescrip-
tion filling are seldom due to gross negligence
or ignorance of technical aspects. The vast
majority of errors are due to human mistakes
that could be avoided. The following are
some major causes of error, and you should
pay particular attention to them.
1. Giving the prescription to the wrong
person. Occasionally, especially during rush
hours, prescriptions go to the wrong person,
either through misunderstanding or inattention.
Make absolutely sure that you have the right
patient, both when you receive the prescription
and when you dispense the finished product.
2. Switching labels. Often when a patient
has more than one prescription, or when the
compounder is filling several prescriptions at a
time, the label of one prescription is inadvertently
fastened to the container of another, with
consequent conflict of directions. It is absolutely
imperative that the right label go with the right
3. Overconfidence. Statistics show that the
majority of mistakes are made by the experts
those who have been doing things for so long they
have become overconfident and have begun to
take shortcuts. Whenever you feel that you have
become so good at filling prescriptions that
you no longer need to double-check your work,
stop and thinkyou may be inviting disaster.
4. Dishonesty or cheating. A person who
becomes so involved in tampering with drugs and
their quantities to make up for those pilfered
or misappropriated cannot possibly avoid tragic
mistakes. Personnel with low integrity, dis-
ciplinary problems, and moral shortcomings
should not be allowed to work in the pharmacy.
5. Failure to double-check. All too often
the belated excuse for error is I thought it was
thus and so or I didnt want to bother the pre-
scriber with this or, worse still, I didnt want
the prescriber to think I was stupid for asking.
When in doubt, always double-check and ask.
Failing to do so can be tragic.
Whether on independent duty, on duty in a
dispensary, or at a major medical center, there
exists a critical need for the hospital corpsman
to perform the basic functions necessary
to transcribe information from a patients
health record onto an eyewear prescription