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Gogi Kozlov
Gogi Kozlov

Pharmacy Negligence

A pharmacist makes a mistake when filling a prescription. This mistake causes the patient harm that can be measured in monetary and emotional terms. The pharmacist is sued. There is no question that each of the elements of ordinary negligence is present here. There is a duty to fill the prescription accurately; there has been a breach of that duty, the breach caused the patient harm, and that harm is measurable in monetary damages. The pharmacist will likely be held liable to pay a judgment in favor of the injured patient. What liabilities does the pharmacist face?

pharmacy negligence

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Case 1: In 2001, a 75-year-old woman presented a handwritten prescription from her urologist for imipramine (an antidepressant) to a pharmacist employed in a national chainstore pharmacy. The pharmacist mistakenly read the drug name as Imuran (azathioprine) and dispensed this powerful immunosuppressant. There is no dispute that the patient did not receive counseling at the time she picked up her prescription. Upon returning home and over a period of several weeks, she took the entire prescribed dose and part of one refill before she went to the emergency room complaining of symptoms of swelling in her legs, feet, and abdomen; weight gain; and shortness of breath. According to the records, the emergency room physician recognized that Imuran was not a drug prescribed for bladder problems, and the patient immediately stopped taking the erroneously dispensed medication. In the complaint, she alleges that her health improved after she stopped taking Imuran and began taking imipramine, but she never fully recovered from the congestive heart failure complications that Imuran caused. The patient died in 2003.

After much legal rambling, the two cases ended up together in front of a federal district court judge sitting in Tennessee. Both of the plaintiffs had asked for compensatory and punitive damages. Germane to this discussion, the federal district judge granted a summary judgment motion on behalf of the defendant pharmacy, holding that neither plaintiff will be able to seek punitive damages once the cases are set for trial. Both plaintiffs appealed that ruling to the Court of Appeals, claiming the district court erred in interpreting Tennessee law on the availability of punitive damages.

As a pharmacy owner or pharmacist, you have a key role ensuring the health and lives of patients by properly administering medication. However, various errors like reading a prescription incorrectly or mixing up labels can result in a patient suffering serious harm or, in some cases, death. In such unfortunate cases, patients or their families may be compelled to file a lawsuit against your pharmacy or pharmacist(s) to recover damages.

It must be proven that the pharmacy or pharmacist assumed or owed some duty to the patient. In other words, the pharmacy or pharmacist must have established a relationship with the patient through some sort of transaction or agreement. For example, when a patient takes a prescription to a pharmacist to be filled, the pharmacist owes that patient a duty once that prescription is taken from the patient.

The patient can show damages by presenting losses due to the harm to their body or mind as a result of pharmaceutical negligence. Examples of such losses include medical bills, loss of income, rehabilitation fees, loss of services (household or marital), pain and suffering, loss of life, and punitive damages.

The pharmacy can also be liable for punitive damages in cases of extreme negligence. Punitive damage awards are often sought to serve as an example and to send a message to other organizations from acting the same way.

These four key elements make up the grounds for a pharmacy malpractice case. By being aware of these concepts, you can prevent serious consequences. Learn more about pharmacy malpractice to know what to look out for and how to avoid it. If you are facing a pharmacy malpractice lawsuit, contact us today for experienced representation and defense.

When a person experiences an injury or death as a result of pharmaceutical negligence, such as a prescription misfill (when a pharmacist dispenses an incorrect drug), dispensing the wrong strength of the correct drug or providing incorrect directions for use on the prescription container (commonly known as the mislabeling of a drug), it is important to speak with a knowledgeable law firm who understands pharmaceutical negligence cases.

Every year, pharmacists fill approximately 4 billion prescriptions in the United States. As a result, approximately 1.3 million patients experience some sort of negative reaction resulting from improper prescription care, mislabeling, and more. These acts of malpractice lead to at least one person dying every day as a result of pharmaceutical negligence.

While the reasons for the behaviors that result in pharmaceutical negligence cases can be countless, the most common reasons include: distractions while working, tying pharmacist/physician pay to volume distribution of a particular drug, inadequate pharmacy regulations, and failure to comply with product recalls.

The expert found that the morphine pills introduced a dangerously high amount of the drug into her system and were likely the main cause of her death. The manufacturer and pharmacy settled for a confidential amount.

There are many types of negligence which can occur in a medical practice, as well as with tangential services. As you may expect, pharmacy negligence occurs when a pharmacist who is dispensing drugs makes a mistake or omission due to careless operation or procedure.

A breach of duty can occur in two ways. Nonfeasance occurs when the expected activity is not performed, and malfeasance takes place when the activity is incomplete or incorrectly performed. If a prescription has been filled incorrectly, breach of duty is not difficult to prove. However, other breach of duty claims may not be as clear-cut. Call Probinsky & Cole if you have a question regarding this aspect of pharmacy negligence.

Drug dispensing errors can cause multiple injuries and health problems, and our South Carolina injury lawyers can help even the most severely injured clients. Injuries and illnesses that can occur because of pharmacy error include:

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who fill your prescriptions are under a duty to provide accurate dosing, the correct drug and proper warnings about drug interactions. When the pharmacy fails to adhere to that duty and you get sick or hurt because of drug interactions or an improperly filled prescription, you have the right to seek justice.

The South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC represent people who have suffered substantial health problems or wrongful death because of pharmacy negligence. Even if a dangerous drug interaction did not result in death and instead cost you a trip to the emergency room, we can help you recover the cost of your medical treatment and compensation for pain and suffering.

When a pharmacy dispenses your prescription drugs, you expect that you are receiving the correct drug in the correct dosage with the correct instructions for administering the medication. Unfortunately, a study conducted by Auburn University indicates that prescription drug dispensing errors are a nationwide problem, particularly at retail pharmacies. Dispensing errors, also called pharmacy misfills or drug misfills, can cause serious health risks and can even kill you.

In short, yes, suing pharmacies for negligence or medical malpractice is possible. First, it is important to note that a pharmacist is a medical professional by the definition of the law. Similar to any other medical professional, a pharmacist, along with the pharmacy that they work for, may be liable for damages suffered by a person as a result of medical malpractice.

Specifically, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, such as a pharmacist, and/or a healthcare organization falls below the standard duty of care that is required of them when they are managing, diagnosing, and/or treating a patient. It is important to note that the deviation from the standard duty of care must result in an injury in order for it to be considered medical malpractice. The deviation from the standard duty of care that is required of all medical professionals is generally the result of an act of negligence by that medical professional.

For example, in the case of a pharmacist giving the wrong medication or printing the wrong directions for the use of medication, if that negligent act falls below their duty of care and causes an injury to a patient, such negligence may result in a medical malpractice suit.

In order for a person to succeed in a lawsuit for pharmacy malpractice, they must prove all of the necessary elements for their civil claim. There are several elements which must be met before medical malpractice against a pharmacist can be established. In order to prove medical malpractice liability, a plaintiff must be able to prove all of the following:

Additionally, if the lawsuit for pharmacy malpractice is specifically filed against an organization or its clerical staff, it must be shown that the medical staff was trained and/or supervised negligently.

When suing a pharmacist for malpractice, a plaintiff is typically seeking monetary damages. In fact, monetary damages are the most typical damages for pharmacist negligence. Monetary damages are a monetary amount which is intended to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries.

All of these and other pharmacy mistakes can have very serious, even life-threatening consequences. At Lanier Law Group, we believe that the liable party should be held accountable and that innocent victims of pharmacy errors should receive the justice and recovery they are owed.

In most cases, the pharmacy itself can be held liable for a pharmacy error. However, it may also be possible to hold an individual pharmacist or member of the staff accountable for your damages. If a doctor was negligent in prescribing medication (for example, by prescribing the wrong medication), which was then incorrectly filled by the pharmacy, both the doctor and the pharmacy may be liable. 041b061a72


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