Walgreens gives customer wrong medicine, and tells her, ‘Well, you know, they both begin with H’

A Walgreens pharmacy in Surprise, Arizona is apologizing after mistakenly giving customer Heather Sparling the wrong medicine. Last month, Sparling wasn’t feeling well so she visited her doctor. She told KPHO CBS 5 News, "He diagnosed me with an ear infection-fluid in my ear, sinus infection, and an inflamed liver and I had hives." Having been diagnosed two years ago with an autoimmune disease, Ms. Sparling was aware that her body had to struggle to fight off infections. She went to Walgreens to fill the four prescriptions she was given, but after taking the medicine for two days, she noticed that her condition was worsening.

It was then that Sparling received a call from Walgreens to inform her that she was given the wrong medicine for one of her prescriptions. She was given blood pressure medication instead of the pills to treat her hives. "She goes, 'Well, we probably couldn't read the doctor's handwriting.' Then I said, 'Well, I know that that's not possible because the prescription was printed out,” Sparling recounted. “She kind of paused and said, 'Well, you know, they both begin with H.’"

Phil Caruso, Walgreens spokesperson, issued a statement to KPHO that reads, "We're sorry this occurred and we apologized to the patient. We have a multistep prescription filling process with numerous safety checks in each step to reduce the chance of human error. We reviewed this incident and will work to prevent it from happening again."

The station spoke to Dr. Donald Bucklin, Regional Medical Director of U.S. Health Works, who said, “Prescription mix-ups are very common.” He added that because state or federal laws do not require pharmacies to report errors, it’s difficult to quantify how often it happens. He advises that customers to stay vigilant, “Just be an aware consumer, and everyone will be safer.”

Video and more info: KPHO

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