Suffolk woman says Walgreens pharmacy mislabeled her diabetes medication

Posted at 9:21 PM, Oct 23, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-24 06:28:15-04

Suffolk, Va. - A Suffolk woman says when she picked up a prescription from Walgreens last week, the label on the bottle did not match the pills that were inside.

Sylvia Battle, a retired nurse's aide, says she went to pick up two prescriptions from the Godwin Boulevard Walgreens store in Suffolk on October 17.

One prescription was supposed to be for Gabapentin to help with leg cramps and the other for Metformin to help control her diabetes.

When Battle returned home from the pharmacy, she noticed that there were different pills in the two bottles, but both had a label claiming to be Gabapentin.

Battle says the Gabapentin label had been incorrectly put on her prescription of Metformin.

"If I hadn't looked at my label and took the wrong medicine, I could have taken an overdose and went into a diabetic coma," Battle explained.

Battle returned to the store that night where she says a pharmacy technician profusely apologized and corrected the labels and refunded the cost of the prescriptions.

However, Battle says the manager on duty that evening was less than polite.

"He was very nasty. He told me that he had to go to his photo booth and work over there," Battle explained. "I said, 'I don't want to get anybody in trouble. I just want you to correct my medicine for me. I said 'Do you think your photo is more important than my life?'"

On Monday, Battle says she met with the pharmacy manager who again apologized and said the mistake happened while training new staff.

"He explained it to me that they were changing the pharmacy - they were getting new people in, and they were training them and he was very sorry for what happened," Battle said.

The store also gave Battle a $25 gift card.

"I got home thinking you know, what do you think a gift card was going to do to me? I said they are giving more than that away in the sweepstakes," Battle explained.

In response to NewsChannel 3's inquiry about the incident, Walgreens released the following statement Monday:

"Prescription labeling errors are rare and we take them very seriously. We are sorry this occurred and we have apologized to the patient. We have a multi-step prescription filling process with numerous safety checks in each step to reduce the chance of human error.  We will investigate what happened and work to prevent it from happening again."

Battle says she wants to make sure this never happens to someone else.

"I haven't had a good night's sleep since this happened, wondering if it had happened to someone else, you know what I mean?  Because so many people have died from taking the wrong medications," Battle said.

Battle says she will no longer take her business to Walgreens and is currently looking for a new pharmacy.