Medical Malpractice

Pharmacy Liability

According to the American Medical Association and the Institute of Sciences, more people die each year from errors in faulty administration of prescription medication than from job-related injuries.

These medication errors can be the result of any of the following:

  • Dangerous drug interactions
  • Incorrect dosage
  • Administering the wrong medication

Some of these errors occur during surgery or under the direct supervision of a physician, in which case the likely course of legal action is a medical malpractice suit. In many cases, however, patients are injured as a result of pharmaceutical error.

Pharmacist liability

A pharmacist is a trained medical professional tasked with accurately filling patient prescriptions. The duties of the pharmacist, however, do not end at simply following physician instructions.

A pharmacist is responsible for:

  • Accurately disclosing appropriate usage, including warnings, on the label
  • Properly filling the prescription with the right drug at the right dosage
  • Warning the patient of potential interactions with other drugs
  • Answering the patient’s questions about drug usage, contraindications or dangerous uses, and interactions

According to a study done by Auburn University in 2003, almost 1.72%, or almost one in every 55 prescriptions contained some sort of error. According to a 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine, these pharmaceutical errors injure 1.5 million Americans every year, at a cost of $3.5 billion annually.

If you or a loved one has suffered damages as a result of a pharmacist error, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Misfills

Misfills are the most common type of pharmacist error. Errors classified as ‘misfills’ include:

  • Dispensing the wrong medication. When the wrong medication is prescribed, the patient may not only suffer from the detrimental effects of the incorrectly administered medication, but he or she could also suffer damages from lack of the proper medication.
  • Dispensing the wrong dosage of the right medication. When doses are incorrect, patients might suffer from either an overdose or insufficient medication.
  • Mislabeling the prescription with incorrect information. When medication is mislabeled, it can create confusion and dangerous interactions if the patient seeks medical attention while using the drug.

Any of these errors can lead to serious injury and even death for the patient.

What types of problem can pharmacists be found liable for?

Pharmacists are trained health care professionals, and are held to certain standards of duty by the state they operate in. Some of the most common causes of pharmacist liability include:

  • Dispensing the wrong medication
  • Dispensing the wrong dosage
  • Failing to sufficiently warn patients of harmful effects and drug interactions
  • Other labeling errors

What is a ‘misfill’?

A ‘misfill’ is the common term used to describe a prescription that is filled incorrectly, including incorrect medication, incorrect dosage, or errors in the dosage instructions and other information on the label.

Is pharmacist error a big problem?

Yes. According to various sources, as many as 5% of all prescriptions are incorrectly filled.

Can I sue my pharmacist for filling my prescription incorrectly?

In order to pursue damages from your pharmacist, you must show that you suffered damages as a result of the mistake, such as injury as a result of receiving the wrong medication or failing to receive the correct medication.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by a pharmacist’s negligence, please contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation. We’ll review your pharmacy liability claim with you and help you determine how to best proceed.


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