New Jersey CVS Mistakenly Gives Kids Breast Cancer Medication

A CVS pharmacy in Chatham, New Jersey is frantically trying to found out how it gave 50 children a breast cancer treatment as opposed to their chewable fluoride. And parents everywhere are suddenly triple-checking their children’s medication.

Seriously, don’t feel bad for stepping away from the computer to make sure that’s really a Flintstones vitamin in there. I did it too.

In a screw-up that no one can really explain, the pharmacy handed out Tamoxifen, which is used to block the production of estrogen, instead of fluoride tablets. The only saving grace is that Tamoxifen shouldn’t have any ill-effects for the children who ingested it. Daniel Hussar, a professor with the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences said, “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.”

I guess we can breathe a small sigh of relief there. Except that if it were my child, I would still be a little more than freaked out. And I would be switching pharmacies stat.

The other bit of good luck in this disturbing mix-up is that while the two pills look alike, Tamoxifen isn’t meant to be chewed. Since you’re supposed to swallow the thing down, it doesn’t have any of that yummy artificial flavoring that chewable tablets have, meaning that most kids would have noticed the problem immediately! Think about that lingering flavor on the back of your tongue when a pill melts a little in your mouth. Then think about having that junk stuck in your teeth. Yech.

The state attorney general’s office is looking into the incident to determine what happened and whose to blame for the mix-up. It’s consumer affairs division will be collecting all emails, telephone calls, complaints, and other information related to situation. Mike DeAngelis, CVS’s director of public relations, said that the company is “actively investigating this matter to determine how the mistake occurred in order to take corrective actions to prevent this from happening again.”

Here’s hoping that all the children involved in the case are happy and healthy, even if they did have to taste some vile medicine when they only wanted to prevent a little bit of plague.

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    • nyscof

      Studies of Fluoride Supplements: No Evidence of Safety – No Benefit

      According to the Cochrane Oral Health Group, fluoride supplements fail
      to reduce tooth decay in primary teeth, permanent teeth cavity-
      reduction is dubious and health risks are little studied (1). Further,
      “When fluoride supplements were compared with topical fluorides or
      with other preventive measures, there was no differential effect on
      permanent or deciduous teeth,” write Cochrane researchers Ismail et

      In the early 1980′s, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation research first
      revealed fluoride tablets and mouth rinses failed to reduce tooth

      Fluoride supplements “have not been found by FDA to be safe or
      effective,” according to the US National Library of Medicine.(3)

      Before testing was required, fluoride supplements slipped into common
      usage without FDA approval (4) based on the presumed safety and
      effectiveness of water fluoridation. But, tooth decay crises occur in
      all fluoridated cities, states and countries. (4a) and fluoridation’s
      safety is deeply in doubt. (4b)