Children who may have taken breast cancer treatment medication mistakenly distributed by a New Jersey pharmacy instead of prescribed fluoride pills likely won’t suffer any health problems, a pharmaceutical expert said Saturday.
CVS Caremark officials say only a few children ingested pills for breast cancer treatment that they mistakenly received, and company investigators are still working to determine how and why the errors occurred at the pharmacy in Chatham. The pharmacy has acknowledged improperly dispensing Tamoxifen instead of chewable fluoride tablets to children in as many as 50 families between Dec. 1 and Feb. 20.
“Fortunately, it’s very unlikely that this specific drug would cause any serious or adverse effects when used for only a short periods of time,” said Daniel Hussar, a professor with the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences.
CVS said it had spoken with or left messages for every family whose child was dispensed a 0.5 mg fluoride prescription from its Chatham location within the past 60 days. The company issued a statement Friday that said it was “deeply sorry for the mistake that occurred,” although it did not explain how the mistake happened.
According to Hussar, events like these are rare but important learning tools to prevent future mistakes — which may be a small comfort to parents who gave their kids the wrong drugs. On the other hand, those kids were lucky enough to get a drug that probably didn’t do a lot of damage in the long run. Parents would likely be less forgiving if their precious angels had been popping Oxycontin.