Several of the other pharmacy blogs have addressed the question of what we pharmacists actually do --- that we're not just robo-counting-technicians who dispense anything that's put in front of us. I think most people are unaware of how many mistakes doctors actually make on prescriptions. To them, that prescription is a sacred document ---- "I've been seeing the same doctor for 15 years !! That's what he wrote! Why do you have to call? The doctor WROTE the prescription!"
We see it even in simple things like Tylenol dosing for young children. Tylenol can cause liver damage if given in excessive dosages, and in children it's dosed by weight. We've called doctor's offices many, many times for Tylenol dosages twice the recommended amount. We contact doctors routinely to ask about prescriptions for medications that patients are allergic to -- and sometimes the allergy is documented right ON the prescription! I saw a hospital order once for Pencillin 1 million units IV every 6 hours --- right underneath a red stamp that noted "Penicillin Allergy." This week we got a prescription for a patient we had not filled for in awhile -- it was for a HUGE dose of a very powerful narcotic. The technician is concerned about us having it in stock --- I'm concerned about it killing somebody. Since it is for a liquid concentrate, and the dose is written in milliliters, not milligrams, the red lights are flashing as this is a really common source of errors, and people have died from this sort of confusion. It almost made me nervous just looking at it. The point is, we checked it out -- we did not just fill it and assume it was correct.
Your pharmacist may not be able to answer every question off the top of their head, but remember they have probably seen thousands and thousands of prescriptions. Knowing when something doesn't look right is what it's all about.