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      Pharmacy instructors working to prevent contamination in prescription drugs

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- One of the key things that instructors teach at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy is how to ensure that a medication has not been contaminated in the process of preparing it.

      In the real world, though, accidents happen.

      In the last week, prescription drugs were recalled in states including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, and Georgia where drugs were reportedly distributed to doctors' offices in South Carolina.

      Experts say the contamination can come from any number of things, including the source of the products in a medication, a pharmacist who doesn't dress according to standard procedures, or a pharmacy counter that hasn't been sterilized.

      Depending on the kind of medication prepared, there are guidelines in place regulating how a pharmacist prepares your medicine.

      "We're regulated by our South Carolina board of pharmacy, and we're inspected annually, and we have to follow certain guidelines," said Kathy Quarles-Moore, a lab coordinator at University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. "So we do have to be very careful and prepare products exactly like we're supposed to."

      There are ways to protect yourself from potentially contaminated medicines. Ask your pharmacist about his or her procedures at the pharmacy. Many will let their patients see them prepare the medication. Some even have a glass wall into the compounding area so patients can make sure their medicine is being prepared safely.