Separate pharmacies, both part of a major national chain, gave two Mississippi men the wrong prescriptions, according to two lawsuits recently filed in federal court. The complaints say the errors led to multiple hospital stays for one man and the death of the other.

Man dies from quadruple the dose prescribed

A Clarksdale man died after taking the wrong dose of a blood pressure medication for about a month, according to the lawsuit. The pharmacy had given him 25 milligram tablets for a dose four times that prescribed by his doctor.

His widow is suing CVS Pharmacy as well as a pharmacist who then worked at the branch in Southaven, just south of the Tennessee line outside Memphis. The suit seeks one million dollars.

According to the Memphis ABC affiliate, the victim’s family may only have learned about the error because his aunt was a nurse working at his doctor’s office. Two months after his death, the pharmacy called the doctor’s office, where the man’s aunt told the pharmacy of the man’s death. It was then that the dosage error was revealed.

Man given immediate instead of extended release tablets

A Rankin County man claims an unspecified CVS more than once gave him the wrong kind of antiseizure medication. Instead of delivering the drug gradually, the tablets dissolved immediately, causing the man seizures and, on one occasion, a head injury, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit doesn’t specify a damage amount, but suits in U.S. District Court must seek at least $75,000 and the suit meets that requirement, according to news reports.

Dealing with a pharmacy

Experts say such errors are surprisingly common and consumers can play an active role keeping themselves safe. Looking at the bag or receipt is not enough, they say, and suggest not paying, signing, or walking away from the counter before studying the bottle and medication. If anything seems unfamiliar, you can feel free to ask the pharmacist.

Pharmacy customers have rights to counseling from a pharmacist and these conversation are always opportunities for errors to be caught. Consider consistently asking a licensed pharmacist about the medication, cost, generics, dose, side effects, counterindications or anything else about the prescription.