Woman given cancer medicine to treat headache

An elderly woman in Karlshamn in southern Sweden went to her local pharmacy to get a prescription to treat her headaches. She was instead given a potential lethal treatment against breast cancer, according to local newspaper Sydöstran.

The woman’s prescription should have cost her 178 kronor ($22) but instead she was asked to pay 3,515 kronor. While this seemed slightly steep to the woman, she elected to pay anyway.

But the medicine she had in fact been given was a powerful cytotoxic drug to treat breast cancer.

The woman detected the mistake only when she first read the instructions on the side of the package and realized that the medicine was not the one that she needed to treat her headache.

In addition the dose that she was given is reported to have been triple the normal dose and had she consumed the medicine could have been lethal.

The state-owned pharmacy chain Apoteket will now launch an internal investigation into the case and plans to file a report with the health authorities in accordance with Sweden’s Lex Maria medical laws.