Pharmacy Mistakenly Dispenses Chemotherapy Drug to Patient

A pharmacy allegedly dispensed an elderly man a chemotherapy drug instead of his prescribed immunosuppressant for several weeks, and upon realizing the error, the pharmacist tried to hide it.

A pharmacy allegedly dispensed an elderly man a chemotherapy drug instead of his prescribed immunosuppressant for several weeks, and upon realizing the error, the pharmacist tried to hide it.

The 79-year-old patient was prescribed an immunosuppressant after undergoing a kidney transplant, Radio New Zealand reported. However, the pharmacy allegedly gave him a chemotherapy drug, which the patient took for about 3 weeks before asking the pharmacist why the tablets had changed.

The pharmacist then realized that a pharmacy technician had made a mistake filling the prescription, and he had signed off on it. The pharmacist told the patient to stop taking the drug, but he did not report the error.

Instead, the New Zealand pharmacy owner discovered what happened after realizing that the chemotherapy drug stock was depleted.

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Theo Baker expressed disapproval of how the pharmacist handled the situation, according to Radio New Zealand. She also said that the pharmacist should have provided counseling to the patient.

“He knew then that probably an error had been made, he then checked to see who had made the error, and realized he himself had been involved in the dispensing,” Baker said. “But he did nothing further, he didn't complete an incident form, [and] he didn't alert the owner of the pharmacy to it."

The pharmacist will have to apologize to the patient, but there is no other information at this time about further discipline, according to Radio New Zealand.