Why Keep Records of All Medications

Do you keep records of all medications you take, both prescription and over-the-counter? What about those you’ve taken in the past?

Recalls and lawsuits over dangerous drugs that have caused significant harm have highlighted the need for patients to know what they have taken and be able to prove it. Medication records and receipts can serve as evidence.

In this article, our Birmingham drug liability lawyers outline the importance of keeping records of all medications and how to keep track of this information.

The Importance of Medication Records in Drug Liability Lawsuits

The FDA requested the removal of all Zantac (ranitidine) from the market in April 2020 due to the presence of a cancer-causing chemical. In 2018 and 2019, Valsartan medicines were also found to contain a carcinogen and recalled. These are just a few notable drug recalls in recent years.

Many lawsuits have been brought against the makers of Zantac, Valsartan, and other dangerous drugs. In many cases, serious health issues like cancer are linked to using a drug over a long period. Zantac was on the market for decades before being recalled.

If you have complete medication records, you can prove that you took a drug and for how long.

Pharmacies Don’t Keep Records Forever

Pharmacies don’t keep records forever. A pharmacy must keep a patient’s record of care for a minimum of 10 years past the last date of provided pharmacy service; or if the patient is a child, for two years past the age of majority, whichever is greater.

The record of care includes documentation for:

  • Any prescriptions adapted and other drugs prescribed
  • Any known drug therapy issues and how they were handled
  • Any drugs given via injection
  • Any other relevant information, such as prescriptions that were never filled or summaries of consultations between the patient and other health care providers.

For additional pharmacy records, pharmacists must adhere to the following retention guidelines:

  • Prescriptions: Two years after the completion of the therapy related to the prescription or 42 months, whichever is greater.
  • Drug error: 10 years after the error was first found.
  • Health disclosure: 10 years after the disclosure date.
  • Narcotic receipts: Two years from the receipt date.

Incomplete Information

You can’t simply assume your pharmacy will have a complete list of your past medications even if it hasn’t been 10 years since your last visit. Pharmacies close, and your information may not be transferred to your new pharmacy. The patient record of care we’ve discussed doesn’t cover over-the-counter medications.

The reason doctors ask about your medications at every health visit is to confirm their records are up to date. You need to be sure to tell your doctor about all over-the-counter medications you take as well as prescription drugs.

Here are some other reasons why you need to keep your own records of all medications:

  • You might go to more than one pharmacy to have prescriptions filled.
  • Some people might see more than one doctor or provider. And care teams can change quickly after major medical events (for example, when patients are transferred from a hospital department to another facility).
  • People might take vitamins, supplements, or naturopathic products that aren’t prescribed.
  • Healthcare computer systems don’t always communicate with one another, depending on where you go.

How to Keep a Record of All Medications

Most people think about prescriptions when they think of medications. But it’s important to keep records of everything you take, including:

  • Prescriptions
  • Drug samples
  • Over-the-counter drugs (for example, aspirin, anti-acid medications, cold and flu medications, allergy medications)
  • Vitamins
  • Herbal/naturopathic remedies
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Dietary supplements
  • Vaccines
  • Respiratory therapy treatments
  • Radioactive medications
  • Diagnostic/contrast agents
  • Intravenous medications

Your list should include the following information:

  • Your name, date of birth, and any medication allergies or adverse effects
  • Name of each medication (brand and generic), vitamin, herbal or naturopathic product
  • Strength (for example, 200 milligrams)
  • Route taken (for example, by mouth or rubbed in)
  • Quantity (for example, number of pills)
  • When taken (for example, once a day OR as needed)
  • Pharmacy where the order was filled
  • Location where over the counter medication was purchased
  • Provider who prescribed it

Contact Our Birmingham Dangers Drug Lawyers

Keeping a list of all your medications is important for your health. If you took a dangerous drug, medication records can serve as important evidence in a lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a prescription or over-the-counter medication, we can help you pursue the justice you deserve. At Hare Wynn, we have taken on powerful pharmaceutical companies and won numerous multi-million dollar jury verdicts and settlements.

Contact our Birmingham drug liability lawyers at 800-568-5330 for a free case review today.

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