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Pharmaceutical blunder leads to botched study

A company called Peregrine Pharmaceuticals is suing another company called Clinical Supplies Management for an error that compromised a cancer treatment study from 2010 to 2012. The clinical study was supposed to have one group of patients receive the drug, and the other group receive a placebo. Peregrine was the company overseeing the study, and CSM was simply a third party supplying the substances.

But CSM botched the delivery of the drugs, giving the placebo and the drugs to the wrong patient groups. As a result, Peregrine had to admit the error which sent their stock tumbling down. Peregrine's lawsuit hopes to recoup the at least $20 million that was lost as a result of the blunder.

We're not writing about this story to shed light on the plight of the oh-so-lucrative pharmaceutical company that seems to have been victimized by another presumably lucrative company. No, that has little-to-no impact on the everyday person here in Portland.

Instead, just focus on the actual mistake that happened here. Whether it was by mislabeling, laziness, or a distribution error, people were given the wrong substance. It seems like such a simple thing -- giving someone the prescription or object that they asked for -- and yet a company botched this process.

Now imagine something even more intricate and isolated. Imagine a patient is given a prescription by his or her doctor, and he or she takes it to the pharmacy. And a pharmacy worker fills the patient's medicine bottle with the wrong drug.

Or what about this: what if the doctor prescribes the wrong medicine purely out of absent-mindedness?

These things happen all the time, and they are unacceptable. No patient deserves this. There are few patients who even know what the drugs they are being prescribed look like. When doctors or pharmaceutical workers mess up a prescription, they must be held accountable by the victimized patients.

Source: Grand Forks Herald, "Lawsuit charges Fargo medical company with mistake costing $20 million to fix," Adrian Glass-Moore, Mar. 3, 2015

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