Medication Errors by Pharmacists

Pharmacists owe a duty of care to patients just like any other medical professional. We trust pharmacists to give us the correct medication in the correct dosage. When a pharmacist makes an error, the results can be deadly.


Common Causes of Pharmacy Errors

A pharmacist’s error can result in a patient receiving the incorrect medication. Taking this incorrect medication can lead to serious side effects, illness, and even death. In addition, a pharmacist may not recognize an important interaction between medications that have been prescribed to a patient. This could also have serious consequences. In some cases, a pharmacist may give a patient an incorrect dosage, which can lead to complications. Finally, injuries can result from a pharmacist giving a patient incorrect directions on how to take a medication. There are some common factors that contribute to these types of errors, including:

  • Inattention or distraction
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Improper training
  • Disorganized pharmacy
  • Improper labeling
  • Overworked or fatigued pharmacist
  • Poor communication between pharmacists and doctors

Holding Pharmacies Accountable

In some cases, medication errors can be the result of policies and procedures put in place by a pharmacy. Chaos at large chain pharmacies can place patients at risk. A recent New York Times article pointed out how medication errors are frequently occurring at large chain pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens. While these chain pharmacies claim that the safety of the patients is a priority, the large workload they place on their employees can lead to fatigue and errors by pharmacists. Pharmacies get paid by the number of pills they prescribe, and forcing pharmacists to work long hours in a busy and chaotic setting can easily lead to dangerous situations.

Pharmacies should be held accountable for improper training or overworking of pharmacists. Most investigations into medication errors focus on the pharmacists and not on their working conditions. While a pharmacist has an obligation to follow their duty of care regardless of the chaos around them, pharmacies should still ensure that pharmacists are given the resources and help they need to properly verify and dispense medication.  Otherwise, too many patients are unnecessarily placed at risk.


Contact a New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured due to a medication error, you should consult with an experienced injury attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical negligence.  Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.