By Gabe Licht
DELANO, MN A Delano mom is speaking out after receiving a mislabeled prescription for one daughter and an expired prescription for another from the Delano CVS pharmacy.
“I feel pretty passionate about this and want to get the word out,” Vanessa Gilbertson said.
Her prescription problems began about two months ago, when she went to the local CVS to pick up ibuprofen and amoxicillin to treat her 7-year-old daughter’s ear infection.
“I was going to give her a dose of ibuprofen and it looked exactly like the bottle of amoxicillin,” Gilbertson said. “The manufacturer’s label said amoxicillin, but CVS put ibuprofen on the label.”
Gilbertson filed a complaint with the regional pharmacy manager and received an apology.
“He was very nice and got it fixed,” Gilbertson said of the local pharmacist. “I said, ‘I appreciate it, and hopefully, it doesn’t happen again.’”
But, that wasn’t her last bad experience with CVS in Delano.
With her 5-month-old daughter’s medication for gastroesophogeal reflux disease or GERD having expired June 15, she had a new prescription filled at CVS July 16.
Each day, her daughter’s symptoms returned a little more.
“She had almost been symptom-free, but by Sunday (July 19), she was back to the way she was before,” Gilbertson said. “She was vomiting 20 to 30 times a day, screaming, not sleeping, and having extreme stomach pain.”
After administering nine doses of the medicine, Gilbertson started looking at it to try to determine why it wasn’t working.
“We looked, and that’s when we saw it had expired in June,” Gilbertson said.
Adding to her frustration was the fact that she had discussed expiration dates with the pharmacist.
“We had a whole discussion about expiration dates and why I wasn’t giving her the full bottle I had at home because it had expired, and then he gave me expired meds,” Gilbertson said. “. . . I was just enraged with them that she went through this again.”
She posted her experience on Facebook, where other community members voiced concerns about prescriptions they had received from CVS.
“To hear other people have had issues, as well, it’s really disturbing,” Gilbertson said.
CVS has since apologized to Gilbertson and filled the prescription with new medication.
“We sincerely apologize to Ms. Gilbertson,” CVS Public Relations Director Mike DeAngelis said in a statement. “Her children’s prescriptions were corrected as soon as we learned of these incidents, and our pharmacy supervisor has personally apologized to her.”
He continued by stating that the health and safety of CVS customers is the company’s No. 1 priority and that comprehensive policies and procedures are in place to ensure prescription safety.
DeAngelis told the Delano Herald Journal “every prescription we dispense undergoes a multi-step review by a pharmacist prior to being dispensed to a patient. Well-defined processes have been put in place to ensure accurate dispensing, including on-screen computer messaging, bar-coded prescription labels, electronic prescribing, automated prescription-filling technology, electronic pill imaging and assurance training for all pharmacy staff.”
While DeAngelis did not have statistics for how often prescription mistakes happen, he said it is not often.
“Prescription errors are a very rare occurrence at all of our pharmacies,” DeAngelis said. “However, if an error does occur, we fully investigate to determine how it happened.”
Such errors are not more common in Delano than at other CVS pharmacies, according to DeAngelis. Nonetheless, he said improvements are being made.
“We have taken corrective action at our Delano pharmacy to prevent this from happening again,” DeAngelis said.
If a patient has any issue with a prescription from a CVS pharmacy, that patient should immediately report it to that pharmacy or contact CVS at (800) 746-7287.