Last Updated: January 26, 2021

Pharmacy Error Is Medical Malpractice And Can Hurt Or Kill Patients

pharmacy error

Pharmacy Error Is often not the first thing people think of when someone says "Medical Malpractice" but it poses a serious risk of harm to patients.

Most are familiar with medical malpractice which involves mistakes doctors make diagnosing an illness or performing a procedure. Less well known is pharmacy medical malpractice. Pharmacists are entrusted to dispense medications to patients, and as a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, we know their mistakes can have life-altering or life-threatening consequences.

Common pharmacy mistakes

In the modern health care system, there are a number of things that can go wrong that could lead to a pharmacist being held liable for medical malpractice.

Dispensing the wrong medication

Research indicates that about 10% of prescriptions are filled in error, and this mistake is simply unacceptable. 

Whether dispensing the wrong medication entirely or dispensing the wrong strength of the proper medication, any pharmacist who deviates from the physician’s instructions and gives out the wrong medication is almost always going to be found negligent. Even if the medication was mislabeled by the manufacturer, a jury may well find that the pharmacist should have caught the error.

pharmacy error
Failing to take into account a patient’s medical history

If pharmacy records indicate that a patient is seriously allergic to a certain medication, the pharmacist should not dispense that medication. Instead, they should contact the prescribing physician or instruct the patient to do so. If the pharmacist does not do either, they may be found guilty of pharmacy medical malpractice.

Alternatively, perhaps this is the first time the patient has visited this pharmacy, and the pharmacist knows a medication has a great risk for an allergic reaction. The pharmacist should ask the patient about their allergy history to try to determine if the patient might have an adverse reaction to the medication.

Failing to screen multiple prescriptions

A patient taking three prescriptions from different doctors might come to the pharmacy with a fourth prescription from another doctor. The pharmacist should review all four prescriptions to make sure the patient can take the new prescription along with the other three. If a pharmacist fails to screen multiple prescriptions, they may be found negligent.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a pharmacist’s mistake, you should call us at 312-500-4500. 

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Scott DeSalvo, Injury Lawyer - 312-500-4500


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