Letters to the Editor
Dispensing practices and labelling of drugs
- Aust Prescr 2005;28:84-7
- 1 August 2005
- DOI: 10.18773/austprescr.2005.068
The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.
Editor, – Ms McCullagh (Aust Prescr 2005;28:5-7) raises an important point and one that has been brought to the attention of the Pharmacists Board of Queensland. The Board recently undertook disciplinary action against a pharmacist who dispensed a prescription for methotrexate where no label was placed on the bottle holding the tablets. As a direct consequence of the lack of a label, the patient took the wrong dose of methotrexate and was admitted to hospital a few days later with severe toxic manifestations.
The Board subsequently received credible information indicating that the practice of labelling only the exterior packaging when dispensing methotrexate was a not infrequent occurrence. Subsequently it wrote to all Queensland pharmacists highlighting the inherent risks associated with such practice.
The Board supports the comments made by Ms Deans, of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. However, it would emphasise that there are very few instances where a pharmacy dispensing label is not able to be securely attached to the container holding the medicine and certainly none where a drug with a narrow therapeutic index is involved, where any patient confusion as to the dose may have dire consequences.
Pharmacists Board of Queensland