PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway this week said it is redoubling efforts to make sure its pharmacists follow strict procedures after a six-week pregnant woman was given the wrong medication at a Safeway in Fort Lupton, Colo.
The incident was a case of mistaken names. The pregnant woman, Mareena Silva, was given a prescription of Methotrexate, a drug reportedly to treat cancer, instead of an antibiotic. The name on the prescription was for Maria Silva and not Mareena Silva.
Reports said that Methotrexate was used in the 50's for abortions, and it can cause birth defects in an unborn child.
After taking the wrong drug, Silva was taken to the hospital.
Safeway has apologized for the mishap and has offered to pay any medical expenses incurred as a result of the prescription error.
“We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that all our pharmacists follow the strict policies and procedures we have in place to prevent medication errors. All pharmacy personnel are trained and instructed to confirm verbally the patient’s full name and date of birth before retrieving a medication from the “will call” area. This procedure includes getting a verbal acknowledgment and confirmation from the customer. Had that procedure been followed, this regrettable error could have been avoided,” Safeway said in a statement.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure approximately 1.3 million people annually in the United States. Most common medication errors, which can occur anywhere in the distribution system, are poor communication, ambiguities in product names, directions for use, medical abbreviations or writing, poor procedures or techniques, patient misuse because of poor understanding of the directions for use of the product.