Leading national pharmacy chains have updated their safety measures to prevent dangerous drug interactions that could harm patients. The changes are the result of a Chicago Tribune investigation that found 52% of pharmacies in the Chicago area dispensed risky drug combinations without warning patients about potentially harmful interactions. CVS failed to caution consumers 63% of the time, the highest rate among the 255 independent and chain pharmacies tested.
After the report was published in December 2016, CVS upgraded the computer system at its 9,700 stores nationwide to improve patient safety. Pharmacists must now warn patients or consult with the prescribing doctor when an alert shows up for serious drug interactions. The computer system prevents pharmacists from selling medication until they take the required action. Approximately 30,000 pharmacists and 50,000 technicians received training on the new safety protocol. Walgreens announced that it conducted additional training on dangerous drug interactions with the company’s 27,000 pharmacists. Costco, Kmart and Wal-Mart have also updated their computer systems and trained their pharmacists in order to boost patient safety.