A pharmacy error can create serious risks to a person’s health and even their life. Read on to learn how a lawsuit can help provide compensation for such tragic events.
When you visit the pharmacy, you put great trust in their staff to ensure that you receive the proper medications you need. But what happens when the pharmacy makes an error regarding your medication? Such errors can be potentially deadly; who can be held liable for such mistakes?
Depending on the nature of the pharmacy error, various parties may be held liable for the resulting injuries. Injuries can involve disruptions of vital signs, organ failures, paralysis, and even death. Pursuing legal action against a pharmacist or other party can help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
At Hodes Milman, we have extensive experience in holding pharmacies and medical institutions accountable for negligence. We have a proven track record of obtaining significant financial awards on behalf of our clients. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a pharmacy error, contact us at (949) 640-8222 to schedule a no-cost consultation where we can determine your next steps.
What Are Common Pharmacy Errors?
Some of the most common pharmacy errors are giving the wrong medicine, the wrong dosage, and the wrong prescription. These are discussed in more detail below.
Can You Sue a Pharmacy for Giving the Wrong Medicine?
One of the most common causes of action against a pharmacy is when they prescribe the wrong medicine to the patient. For instance, this might happen if they prescribe blood pressure medication to a person who doesn’t need it.
As you can expect, this situation can be extremely dangerous and can result in:
- Serious side effects
- Allergies to the drug
- Interactions with other medications
This type of situation is most dangerous for medications that affect a person’s vital signs, such as their heartbeat or blood pressure, internal organ functions, blood sugar levels, breathing, and other bodily processes. It often results from other errors such as mixing up patient files.
This type of pharmacy error can cause immediate damage and may be fatal in many instances. Legal action may be required to compensate the injured person for their losses.
Can You Sue a Pharmacy for the Wrong Dosage?
Another common pharmacy error is when the pharmacy or pharmacist issues the wrong dosage. This is where the patient is given the correct medication, but in either too little or too much of an amount. It might also involve prescribing them the wrong strength of a particular medicine (extra strength vs. normal, for instance).
Health risks in such a situation can include:
- Inadequate medication to fight the original medical condition (if too little dose is given)
- Potential for overdose or addiction (if too much is given)
- Unwanted side effects or reactions
Prescribing the wrong dosage is often the result of negligence or oversight on the part of the prescribing doctor. It can also result from administrative errors, such as an error in reading a patient’s file or medical history.
Can You Sue a Pharmacy For Giving the Wrong Prescription Instructions?
Part of an accurate prescription is not just the type and dosage of medication, but also the way in which it is taken (the instructions given with the medication). For instance, if the patient is told to take the medication in too many or too few intervals, they could be seriously injured.
The manner of administration is also important. If, for example, the patient is told to ingest a medication that is supposed to be put on their skin topically, it could be extremely dangerous.
Wrong prescription instructions can lead to:
- Instances of poisoning or toxicity
- Injuries caused by taking the substance at the wrong time
- Absence of the medication when it’s actually needed
Failure to provide the correct instructions can result from a lack of training or experience, medical oversights, or other causes. In such instances, a lawsuit may be needed to hold the proper parties liable.
A pharmacy error can lead to serious emergencies, and resulting injuries may be life-threatening. If you or a loved one were injured due to a pharmacy error, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact Hodes Milman at (949) 640-8222 if you need representation for your case.
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What Do Damages Cover If You Sue a Pharmacy?
The damages resulting from pharmaceutical litigation can be extensive and may cover a wide range of expenses and losses. These may include:
- Emergency treatment or surgery
- Additional medications to counteract the pharmacy error
- Long-term treatment and rehabilitation
- Employment-related losses, such as lost wages and loss of future income
- Costs associated with loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- In cases where a person has passed away, wrongful death damages
Each pharmacy error lawsuit is different, and damages will depend on several factors, including the severity of the injuries. The skill and experience of the attorney handling the case is also crucial, so it’s important to select the right lawyer for your case.
At Hodes Milman, we have an extensive track record of obtaining multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. View our case results to learn more.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Pharmacy Error Lawsuit?
Depending on the facts of each case, various parties might be held liable for a pharmacy error. Some pharmacy errors are the result of a long chain of events and decisions or oversights, meaning different people could be responsible for the error.
Liable parties in a pharmacy error lawsuit may include:
- Pharmacists for not following the standard of care required of them
- The pharmacy institution for insufficient guidelines and safety practices
- Pharmacy administration for hiring unlicensed pharmacists
- Staff or other pharmacy workers who have committed negligence
In other cases, a drug or medicine manufacturer may also be to blame or partially liable, such as when a pharmacist prescribes a defective medicine. In these types of cases, product liability laws may apply as well.
Lastly, more serious issues in a pharmacy lawsuit can include situations where a pharmacist knowingly prescribes expired, defective, recalled, or counterfeit medications. In these types of cases, “punitive damages” may result, which are additional damages intended to punish the liable party for particularly dangerous or egregious violations.
Medication Error Statistics
You’d be surprised to learn that pharmacy and medication errors actually happen very frequently. According to the World Health Organization, medication-related errors cause at least one death each day and injure approximately 1.3 million people every year in the U.S. alone.
Additional medication error statistics include:
- Every year, approximately 7,000 to 9,000 Americans pass away due to medication errors
- Medication errors are the 8th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Elderly patients are more likely to be injured due to pharmaceutical errors since they tend to take more medications than younger demographics
- The United States spends over $40 billion each year on patients who have been injured or affected by a medication error
- The types of medicines most frequently involved in pharmacy errors are drugs that affect the nervous and respiratory system, anticoagulants, and antibiotics
Thus, the risks of injury due to pharmacy error are widespread and involve serious hazards to consumers. The types of drugs typically involved in such errors are particularly dangerous, and legal action may be needed to ensure the injured parties receive the justice they are due under the law.
Contact a Pharmacy Error Lawyer
A pharmacy error can cause devastating injuries that can permanently affect the patient and their family. Filing a lawsuit not only compensates the injured for their losses, it also holds pharmacies and medical professionals accountable for their negligent conduct.
If you or a loved one were injured or affected by a pharmacy error, you have every right to pursue financial assistance. Contact Hodes Milman at (949) 640-8222 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation where we can discuss your next steps and options. We are on hand to guide you on the path toward recovery and a better quality of life.