The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 17, 2013

Readers' Forum 11/17 | Patient needs to double-check pharmacist

JOHNSTOWN — As a local pharmacist, I’d like to comment on the letter by Jean Cuppett “Errors common in prescription meds.” I agree that requiring pharmacy technicians to be certified is a good thing, but the title is misleading.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated the number of prescriptions filled in the U.S. at almost 4 billion in 2011.

Error rates are hard to estimate because some go undetected, but an error rate of one tenth of 1 percent would result in 4 million prescription errors even though prescriptions are filled with 99.9 percent accuracy.

I agree that many errors are preventable and having certified pharmacy technicians will help, but it won’t eliminate all of them.

Think about it another way. Unfortunately, mistakes are going to happen, even with educated and competent pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

What can you, as a patient, do about it? In my experience too many patients seem to care most about how quickly their prescription can be filled and just assume it will be accurate.

My advice is: know your meds, be vigilant about them and always contact your pharmacist if something looks different or seems wrong. Your pharmacist should welcome your call because no matter what a technician does, it is the pharmacist who is ultimately responsible for what is dispensed.

You are the last person to check for accuracy so use the opportunity to help protect yourself.

Irvin Meredith

East Taylor Township

U.S. is not so free, not so great

America, land of the enslaved, home of the depraved. Americans, have you ever asked yourself what makes this country so great? What do other countries teach their citizens if America is the greatest nation on earth? Propaganda. It’s time you wake up to the realities of this not so beautiful country.

Every day, thousands in the U.S. go hungry whenever we are able to produce enough food to feed the entire world.

Every day, thousands of people, including veterans, go homeless whenever we are able to provide enough housing for them despite whatever problems they are struggling with.

Every day, millions go without the health coverage they deserve whenever other “not-so-great” countries provide it free of charge.

Every day, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

Every day, your government takes your hard-earned money, and gives pallets full of it to corrupt warlords in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to obtain “necessary information.”

Every day, your own government terrorizes you with terrorism.

Over time, we have murdered countless innocent women and children in the name of freedom. I ask you, what makes freedom free? Again, what makes this country so great?

Shed the layers of oppressive propaganda that our politicians have drilled into our beings. No matter how many times you repeat a lie it never becomes a truth. America is not the greatest nation on earth anymore. And it surely isn’t as free as an eagle.

Kenneth Oldham


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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