Just like any other health care provider, pharmacists and pharmacies owe a duty of care to the people that rely on their services. Pharmacists are entrusted with dispensing medications that keep people healthy and in some cases save their lives. We rely on pharmacists to be careful when performing their jobs and when they fail to do so the consequences can be devastating. When a pharmacist or a pharmacy is negligent, they can be held legally responsible for the injuries that result.
Common Pharmacy Errors
A pharmacist’s job goes beyond counting pills and dispensing medication. They are also responsible for educating patients and preventing errors from occurring. Common pharmacy errors include:
- Dispensing the incorrect medication—this can include dispensing the wrong type of medication or incorrect dosage. All pills are different and have different codes on them. Pharmacists should be familiar with these codes and ensure that they are providing the correct medication to a patient. In addition, pharmacists are responsible for carefully reading prescriptions and making sure that prescription bottle labels indicate the correct dosage. If a pharmacist deviates from a doctor’s instructions, they may be found liable for negligence.
- Overlooking possible drug interactions or allergies—if a patient has different prescriptions for different medications, the pharmacist has a responsibility to ensure that there are no dangerous interactions between the medications. In addition, if they are informed by a patient that the patient is taking over the counter medication, they must ensure that there is no interaction with that medication as well. They should also be mindful of any drug allergies that a patient may have. Overlooking possible drug interactions or allergies can be potentially deadly.
- Failure to include proper warning labels—if a pharmacist fails to inform a patient of the dangers involved in taking a certain drug, it can result in serious injury to a patient.
- Counseling errors—if a patient asks questions about a particular medication, a pharmacist should be equipped to give a competent and correct answer. Pharmacists should also be able to provide patients with accurate instructions regarding their medication.
Causes of Pharmacy Errors
Pharmacy errors can be the result of a number of different factors including:
- Understaffing at the pharmacy
- Pressure to work too quickly
- Misreading handwriting without clarifying
- Lack of supervision of pharmacy technicians
- Inexperience of the pharmacist
- Failure of the pharmacist to adhere to the appropriate duty of care
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured as the result of pharmacy negligence, you should consult with an experienced and trusted attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.