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David Mittleman
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CVS Mixes Up Breast Cancer Drug With Children's Fluoride Tablets

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Last Friday CVS made a startling announcement: a CVS pharmacy in New Jersey had accidentally distributed cancer pills to children instead of the fluoride pills that they were supposed to receive. CVS said they were deeply sorry for the mistake, but did not elaborate on how the mistake happened.

The attorney general in New Jersey said in an administrative order that the pharmacy acknowledged its mistake and that it had distributed Tamoxifen, a breast cancer fighting drug, instead of chewable fluoride tablets that dentists commonly prescribe to children. Tamoxifen is used to treat breast cancer by blocking the female hormone estrogen in men and women. The medication mix-up occured between December 1 and February 20.

CVS said that it has contacted all of the families suspected of receiving the wrong pills. However, CVS maintains that none of the parents indicated that their children had received the wrong pills. CVS also said that it will continue to call families affected by the mix-up. Thankfully, experts believe none of the children will suffer harm because of the short amount of time that they would've been exposed to the drug. However, some parents have written about their concerns, pointing to the fact that a mixup with a heavy sedative or painkiller would've resulted in a much different outcome. In general, they argue that even the occasional mixup makes them nervous and distrustful of the pharmaceutical industry.