Pharmaceutical drug errors can happen due to a physician prescribing the wrong medication, or by the pharmacy dispensing incorrect drugs. The United States currently has over 7,000 different types of prescription medications available for purchase by consumers and patients. According to research done by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, injuries to consumers as a result of pharmaceutical errors are responsible for thousands of serious injuries and fatalities each year.
As a patient, you put your faith in a physician to prescribe the correct medicine, and the pharmacy to dispense the correct medicine in the correct dosage. However, pharmaceutical errors are classified as medical malpractice negligence and can lead to catastrophic injuries, serious medical conditions, or even death. The most common types of pharmaceutical errors include:
- Wrong medication prescribed to a patient
- Wrong medication dispensed to the patient at the pharmacy (or incorrect dosage of correct medication)
- Medication switched between patients
- Medication dispensed is incorrect due to the fact it has a similar name to another medication causing confusion
- The medication was prescribed or dispensed without checking for the patient’s history of allergic reactions, or whether the medication would interact with any medication the patient is currently taking
- Incorrect communication is given to the patient regarding how to take the medication safely
Almost all pharmaceutical errors that stem from a doctor or pharmacy error are preventable through careful monitoring, checking, and communication. However, any pharmaceutical error could lead to permanent injuries or even death.
In many cases, the doctor has written a correct prescription, but an error is made at the pharmacy. Pharmacies must ensure that all safety protocols and procedures are followed that check that the medication dispensed to a patient is the correct medication in the correct dosages, and that the medication does not conflict with any current prescriptions the patient may be taking. Additionally, a pharmacy has a responsibility to check whether the patient has any allergies listed regarding the current prescription. Any failure to follow these protocols could lead to a pharmaceutical error resulting in serious injuries to the patient.
Pharmacies should always offer the opportunity for a patient to have a consultation with a pharmacist when picking up the medicine. At this time, the pharmacist can directly confirm that the corrected medication was prescribed to the patient and that the dosage is correct, as well. Additionally, the pharmacist may visit with the patient regarding their medical history to ensure that there are no allergies that were not documented in the pharmacy system. Finally, this consultation will allow the pharmacist to explain how to take the medication, and what potentially serious side effects may occur. The failure to have this conversation may cause the pharmacist and the pharmacy to be liable for any resulting permanent injuries or death.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered injuries due to a pharmaceutical error, you may have the right to receive compensation. Contact Griggs Injury Law at (816) 474-0202 to help you understand your legal rights and help you receive the justice you deserve.