Drug News

Report Reveals Californian Pharmacists Commit 5 Million Errors Annually

The California Board of Pharmacy’s recent findings shed light on a concerning issue within the pharmaceutical industry: overworked and understaffed pharmacists. This pervasive problem has significant implications, potentially resulting in up to 5 million errors each year, as reported by the Los Angeles Times on September 5th.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the heart of this issue lies in the overwhelming workload faced by pharmacists, especially those working in chain settings such as Walgreens, Rite Aid, or CVS stores. In a 2021 survey conducted by the state’s Board of Pharmacy, a staggering 91% of pharmacists expressed that their workplaces lacked adequate staffing to provide proper care to patients.

The consequences of understaffing at retail and chain pharmacies are far-reaching. Pharmacists find themselves stretched thin, juggling multiple responsibilities such as filling prescriptions, answering phone calls, corresponding with physicians regarding patient medications, and assisting in-person customers. This multitasking, while essential, leaves little room for error and can lead to issues like prescription errors, medication instructions being mistyped, and more, as highlighted in the LA Times report.

Despite these concerning findings, major pharmacy chains like Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens have not provided substantial comments on the matter. They have acknowledged that prescription errors are typically rare and have emphasized the presence of robust reporting mechanisms and systems aimed at minimizing human error.

The implications of overworked and understaffed pharmacists are concerning not only for the professionals themselves but also for the millions of patients who rely on their expertise and care. Addressing this issue is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of all those who depend on the pharmaceutical industry for their health needs.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."

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