We rely on pharmacists to dispense our prescription medications and help us understand how to take those medications safely. Some pharmacies even conduct basic wellness screenings, administer immunizations, and provide general healthcare advice. And because pharmacies and pharmacy staff members are such a central part of our healthcare system, even a relatively minor mistake on their part can have devastating health consequences for patients. But sometimes, these mistakes rise to the level of pharmacy malpractice, in which case victims may be entitled to compensation. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Pharmacy Malpractice?
Pharmacists have a professional responsibility to their patients, just like doctors do. Every pharmacist learns specific standards of care before they are licensed to practice, and they must apply these standards of care at all times when dealing with patients. If a pharmacist fails to provide the appropriate level of care, their patients can suffer severe and possibly fatal health consequences.
Pharmacists are supposed to fill and dispense prescription medications for patients with various illnesses and health conditions. When a patient’s prescribed medications could harm them, the pharmacist’s job is to notice the potential risk and work with the patient and their doctor to find a solution. Many pharmacists also provide basic health recommendations and services. Pharmacy malpractice can occur any time a pharmacist makes a professional mistake in any of these areas, and a pharmacy patient suffers harm as a result.
When a pharmacist fails to provide the appropriate level of care, and you get hurt, you have the right to file a pharmacy malpractice lawsuit. With a successful pharmacy malpractice case, you could recover money for your medical bills, lost income, and other losses you incur due to pharmacist malpractice.
What Are Common Types of Pharmacy Mistakes?
Pharmacies have shelves upon shelves of various medications, many of which look very similar and do vastly different things. A single mix-up or bad interaction can have huge ramifications for patient health, so pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must be exceedingly careful at all times. These are common examples of pharmacy mistakes.
Dispensing Incorrect Medications
Giving the wrong drug to a patient can easily prove fatal, and there are many opportunities for mistakes during the process of filling and dispensing a prescription. A pharmacy might provide the incorrect medication if a pharmacist scans the wrong bar code on a pill bottle, misreads a doctor’s handwriting, or mixes up similar-sounding drugs.
Dispensing Incorrect Dosages
A wrong drug dosage can be just as dangerous as the wrong drug altogether. A patient with the wrong prescription dose might suffer from a lack of necessary medication or a dangerous overdose. Pharmacists could dispense incorrect dosages if they misinterpret a doctor’s instructions or make a mathematical error while filling a prescription.
Failing to Provide Appropriate Instructions
Every patient must understand how to take their prescriptions, including how to administer the drug and how frequently to use it. Patients also need to know whether to take their medications with food or avoid certain behaviors like drinking alcohol. Pharmacy malpractice can occur when pharmacists fail to give patients this critical information.
Failing to Check Patients’ Medication Histories
Pharmacists must check their patients’ medication histories before dispensing any drugs to ensure there are no potentially harmful drug interactions. If a pharmacist fails to check a patient’s drug history, they could be liable for malpractice if a dangerous drug interaction harms the patient.
Contact Our Indiana Law Firm for Your Pharmacy Malpractice Case
If you got hurt because your pharmacy gave you the wrong medication or a pharmacist provided substandard care, you deserve to be compensated accordingly. Contact the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson to learn more about your rights in a free initial case review.