Doctors are not always at fault when it comes to medication errors. Sometimes a doctor’s valid prescription is botched by the personnel at the pharmacy when the order is filled. A pharmacist may fail in their duty to check prescriptions prior to dispensing them to the patient.
As with doctors and nurses, pharmacists also have a legal duty to protect their patients from unreasonable harm. The ultimately responsibility for the drugs dispensed is on the pharmacist. Pharmacists are trained to know the drugs uses, formulas, doses, and side effects. They possess the tools and systems for identifying contraindications. They also have a duty to verify the “scrips” with the physician who prescribed them if there is any question.
However, every day pharmacy errors occur and these errors can have disastrous results. Injuries can be severe or permanent. Such injuries can include:
- Adverse interactions with other medications – Many pharmacies use programs to detect whether a patient is being prescribed two or more drugs that are dangerous when taken together. If such a program fails to detect dangerous drug interactions, the drugs may have been prescribed by two different doctors, and the pharmacy could be held liable for the resulting damages.
- Allergic reaction (if the patient has known drug allergies)
- Dispensing the wrong drug – a pharmacists who provides the wrong size pills, measures out incorrect medication dosages or provides dosage instructions that are inadequate, can be held accountable for their errors. An overdose or low-dose of a prescription drug can result in serious harm or even death.
- Dispensing the wrong dosage – One of the most important duties a pharmacist performs is ensuring that a patient receive the medication the physician prescribed. If the wrong medication is dispensed the result can be serious to the patient.
- Incomplete or incorrect instructions were given to the patient
- Labeling errors
- Mix-up with orders between patients
- Patient’s health condition was incompatible with the drug
Legal recourse is available to patients who have been injured because they were given the incorrect medication dosage, wrong medication, or experienced a dangerous drug interaction. Both the pharmacy itself and its employees have a legal responsibility to prevent their customers from experiencing unreasonable harm. If you or a loved one has been injured due to negligently dispensed medication, you may be able to hold the pharmacy and/or its employees liable.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.