Identifying dispensing errors in pharmacies in a medical science school in Trinidad and Tobago

Sandeep Maharaj, Adrian Brahim, Horry Brown, Danielle Budraj, Vatalie Caesar, Anyse Calder, Deisha Carr, Dion Castillo, Kevin Cedeno, Manthan D. Janodia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A dispensing error can be defined as an inconsistency between the drug prescribed and drug dispensed to a patient. These errors can lead to ineffective and sometimes unwanted pharmaceutical outcomes. Dispensing errors can be harmful or even fatal to patients. Case presentation: The objective to this study was (a) to determine the types and frequency of dispensing errors at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), (b) to explore the reasons for the occurrence of dispensing errors, and (c) to make suitable recommendations for their prevention. An observational study for a period of 2 weeks was carried out at various in-and outpatient departments of the EWMSC. The observations were carried out during 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. Dispensing errors identified during this period were recorded and analyzed. Results: Sixty-eight errors were identified in the adult outpatient pharmacy of the EWMSC; 19 errors in the pediatric outpatient pharmacy, whereas 22 errors were found in inpatient pharmacy. The most common plausible causes for the dispensing errors include high workload, failure to verify patient information, incorrect data in the pharmacy's record system, inadequate notes made by pharmacists during prior patient visit, and in a few cases, uncomfortable working conditions. Conclusion: Dispensing errors were encountered in 2.1% of all the prescriptions filled at the EWMSC pharmacies. The factors which influenced these dispensing errors include but are not limited to a heavy workload, distractions, failure to verify patient information, and uncomfortable working conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 08-10-2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Health Policy


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