What Is Pharmacy Negligence?
Burnett Law, P.A., represents individuals and their families in Tampa, Florida, who have suffered injuries and damages caused by mistakes made by pharmacists and pharmacies. Pharmacy mistakes are more common than most people realize.
Although many of these mistakes do not end up causing serious injury and go undetected, the unfortunate, adverse consequences of pharmacy errors may prove to be catastrophic and forever life altering.
Common pharmacy prescription medication mistakes:
- Drug Misfill/Medication Misfill: Dispensing Incorrect Drug
- Drug Overdose or Drug Underdose: Dispensing Incorrect Drug Dosage
- Failure to Identify Prescription Problem: Adverse Drug Interaction or Improper Dosage in Prescription
Pharmacies fill hundreds of thousands of prescriptions every day. The more prescriptions that pharmacies fill, the more money they make. The pure volume of prescriptions and the extreme demands placed on pharmacists by their employers in the name of profit increase the likelihood that mistakes will happen in filling prescriptions. Although technology helps to improve prescription filling accuracy and helps prevent mistakes, there is still the element of human error that cannot be totally eliminated when it comes to filling prescriptions.
Pharmacists are only people and people make mistakes. Despite there being pharmacy policies and procedures for checking and double-checking the accuracy of prescriptions when they are filled, pharmacist mistakes still happen:
- the pharmacist dispensing the wrong drug,
- the pharmacist dispensing the wrong dosage of the drug, or
- the pharmacist dispensing a drug with a known adverse interaction with another drug that the pharmacist knows, or should know, the patient is already taking.
These types of mistakes can result in catastrophic injuries, including system failure, paralysis, brain damage and death.
Drug Misfill/Medication Misfill: Dispensing Incorrect Drug
People are being prescribed certain medications by their physicians for a reason. Even if your physician prescribed the correct medication to treat your condition, you and your physician are relying on a pharmacist to fill the prescription correctly.
The consequences of receiving the wrong drug due to the pharmacy’s error can be life-changing and sometimes, life-ending.
If you receive the wrong drug from the pharmacy, not only is your actual medical condition — for which the prescribed medication was intended — not being treated, but you are also being exposed to the potential adverse effects of a drug that you were never intended to receive. Pharmacy medication misfill mistakes can happen simply because two drugs have a similar name or because the pharmacist is distracted when dispensing the drugs. The consequences of receiving the wrong drug due to the pharmacy’s error can be life-changing and sometimes, life-ending.
Drug Overdose Or Drug Underdose: Dispensing Incorrect Drug Dosage
Likewise, medications are prescribed by physicians in certain doses for a reason. While certain drugs may have a beneficial, therapeutic effect in the proper dosage, those same drugs may be harmful and even deadly, if overdosed. Pharmacists may dispense a medication overdose due to a misplaced decimal point or a misplaced zero (e.g., 1.0 mg versus 10.0 mg).
In addition, that same type of pharmacist error may result in receiving inadequate dosage of a needed medication, thereby resulting in a failure to receive the desired, effective treatment. These types of errors can lead to injuries and damages that never should have happened in the first place.
Failure To Identify Prescription Problem: Adverse Drug Interaction Or Improper Dosage In Prescription
Pharmacists have a legal duty to each patient when filling prescriptions prescribed by a physician. Pharmacists cannot blindly fill prescriptions without taking into account the information available to the pharmacist. Even if a physician was wrong in prescribing a certain medication, the pharmacist may still have a duty to advise the physician of the prescription error due to incorrect dosage or a potentially adverse drug interaction. A pharmacist cannot hide behind a physician’s prescription mistake.
Pharmacists are charged with knowing the drugs that they dispense.
Pharmacists are subject to education, training and licensing requirements for a reason. They are independent professionals who are required to use their own professional judgment in assessing whether a physician’s prescription makes sense. Although physicians have their own duties and obligations to their patients when prescribing medication, so do pharmacists who are legally licensed to dispense drugs. Pharmacists are not simply “pill counters.” They are charged with knowing the drugs that they dispense, including a drug’s interactions with other drugs, contraindications for certain drugs, and the proper dosage ranges for a drug.
There are strict time limitations within which you must bring a claim related to a pharmacy mistake. If you believe you or a family member may have been injured as a result of a pharmacy mistake, do not delay. Please speak to one of our attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION at 813.221.5000.