Lack of qualified workers blamed for pharmacy dispensing the wrong drugs

By: - May 11, 2022 10:35 am

A lack of qualified workers is being blamed for an Iowa pharmacy giving a patient the wrong prescription medication. (Photo by Getty Images)

A lack of qualified workers is being blamed for an Iowa pharmacy giving a patient the wrong prescription medication.

The Iowa Pharmacy Board has charged the Walgreens drug store on 111 W Ridgway Ave. in Waterloo with dispensing the incorrect drugs to patients and with failing to ensure that the pharmacy employed an adequate number of qualified personnel.

According to the board, the Waterloo store dispensed two prescriptions to the wrong patient by failing to ask enough “identifying questions” when the drugs were picked up. The patient took the medications and, according to the board, “allegedly experienced adverse effects.”

An investigation revealed that “the pharmacy experiences high staff turnover, resulting in the alleged shortage of qualified employees.”

It’s not clear why it took three years for the issue to be addressed by the board.

As part of a settlement agreement with the board, the store has agreed to, within 30 days, define in writing the staffing needs of the pharmacy and then write a plan to ensure that those needs are met. The pharmacist in charge must agree to the plan and update it as needed to address changes in the demand for services at the pharmacy.

The store must also pay a fine of $750.

More pharmacy license actions

At its May 3 meeting, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy took action in other cases involving licensees, including:

Cheveux, LLC – Earlier this year, the board voted to deny the license renewal application of this Arizona-based limited liability corporation, citing eight recurring regulatory violations related to the company’s person-in-charge reporting requirements for operating in Iowa. The company contested that action. The board, at its May meeting, approved a settlement agreement that renews the company’s license, imposes a civil penalty of $2,500, and requires the pharmacy to pay up to $5,000 as reimbursement for a planned on-site inspection by a board representative sometime within the next year.

Heather Gleason of Oskaloosa – Gleason, a pharmacy technician, agreed to voluntarily surrender her technician trainee registration to resolve allegations that on five occasions, she diverted tablets of hydrocodone from the Hy-Vee pharmacy where she worked for her personal use. Criminal charges in the case are pending.

Heather Oberg of McCook Lake, S.D. – Oberg, a pharmacy technician, was issued a warning to resolve allegations that she received a deferred judgment in Plymouth County after being convicted of unauthorized use of a credit card over $10,000. In addition to the warning issued by the Iowa board, Oberg’s pharmacy technician registration in Nebraska has been placed on probation for two years.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.