One Catty Pharmacist

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 2, 2020

I work as a veterinary assistant at a cat clinic and know basic information about feline pharmacology. My friend’s cat takes 5 mg of a medication every day to control stress-mediated urinary crystals. His prescription is for 45 of the 10 mg tablets, with directions to give half a tablet each day.

My friend went to pick up the cat’s prescription from a large corporate pharmacy after work and did not think to check the prescription until she got home. What the pharmacy gave her was 90 of the 10 mg capsules, which cannot be cut in half, with instructions to give one capsule each day, which would be a double dose. The margin for error in many cat medications is pretty small, and a double dose could well cause serious harm. They also charged her about three times what that particular drug should cost from that pharmacy.

My friend called the pharmacy to complain and was put on with the pharmacy manager, who angrily insisted she had called the vet, the vet had changed the prescription, and the pharmacy had filled it according to the vet’s instructions. My friend knew this was nonsense but couldn’t prove it at that time because the vet clinic had closed for the evening.

The next day, my friend called the vet, whose receptionists confirmed that the prescription hadn’t changed and the pharmacy had never called them. My friend went back to the pharmacy after work with the information from the vet clinic, and they refunded her money and filled the correct prescription so fast she didn’t even get to ask for a manager. Another friend and I are encouraging her to make a formal complaint with corporate, as the mistake of instructing a patient to take a double dose could get the patient killed if the drug was, say, heart medication or a sedative.

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