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Prescription Errors

1.3 million people are injured each year from prescription medications which were dispensed in error.  Prescription errors can occur in many different ways, including:

  • Failure to properly read the doctor’s handwriting
  • Putting the wrong prescription into the pharmacy computer
  • Dispensing the wrong medication
  • Dispensing the wrong dosage of medication
  • Placing the wrong instructions on the medication
  • Failing to detect a new medication’s adverse interactions with existing medications
  • Failure to Properly Read the Doctor’s Handwriting

A pharmacy cannot blame a prescription dispensing error on the doctor who wrote the prescription unless the doctor wrote it wrong.  While doctors should write their prescriptions clearly, the failure to do so does not allow the pharmacy to guess at what was written.  When there is any doubt as to what the words on the piece of paper say, the pharmacist is trained to call the doctor’s office for clarification.  If the pharmacy fills a prescription incorrectly because it was misread, the pharmacy can be held legally responsible for any injuries which occur.  For example, a patient who does not receive the medication which was ordered may become seriously ill or die and a patient who is prescribed a mild medication who is given a dangerous medication may also become seriously injured or die.

Pharmacist Errors

Putting the wrong prescription into the pharmacy computer

Computers are only as smart as the data which is typed into them; many prescription errors occur when the pharmacy’s employees correctly see what the doctor wrote, but either through inadvertence or poorly designed computer software, enter the wrong information into the pharmacy’s records.  Often there are paper or audit trails which can show how the error occurred and who was responsible for making it.

Dispensing the wrong medication

Many medications have similar names and appearances.  Subtle name differences can lead to someone putting drops in their eyes which were made for the ears and contain acid–designed to dissolve ear wax but which can cause permanent blindness when put into the eyes.  Packaging can look very similar and it is the pharmacy’s job to know the subtle differences between one medication and another and prevent the wrong medication from being given to an unsuspecting patient.

Just as medications can have similar sounding names, so too can patients; and it is not uncommon for a pharmacy to dispense John Doe’s medicine to Jon Doe.  When these mistakes cause serious injury, Sobel Legal has the experience to hire the appropriate experts and hold the pharmacy responsible.

Dispensing the wrong dosage

Even if the pharmacy dispenses the exact medication which was ordered, if they give a dose which is not strong enough or too strong, serious injuries can occur.  The same is true for when the pharmacy places on the bottle, the wrong instructions for taking the medication, e.g., “Take twice per day,” instead of “Take two pills twice a day.”  Injuries caused by such prescription errors can be compensated and Sobel Legal takes these cases.

Failing to detect a new medication’s adverse interactions with existing medications

A pharmacy is not only responsible for dispensing the medication which your doctor prescribes with the correct instructions for taking it, it must also examine the adverse interactions which can injure you when you are taking other medications at the same time. It is common for one medication to increase or reduce the effects of other medications.  When that happens, you may experience severe reactions to a medication which, when taken alone, would simply treat your medical condition. Similarly, when taking medications in combination, one medication or the other may have its potency diminished or eliminated completely, either depriving you of a cure for your medical condition or prolonging it.

Similarly, if one medication increases the dangerous effects of another medication, you can become seriously injured when the pharmacy disregards the common practice of evaluating each medication’s effects when taken with other medications you have been prescribed.

Prescription errors occur often – when they do you need an experienced attorney on your side

Sobel Legal is very familiar with the various ways that prescription errors occur and we work with expert pharmacists who can quickly evaluate how someone was injured or killed as a result of these and other medication errors.  We represent our clients for a percentage of what we obtain, plus reimbursement of the costs we incur.  If no recovery is made, we are neither paid a fee nor reimbursed our costs.  Call Sobel Legal at 954-526-7007 or fill out our online form to discuss whether you have the right to recover legal damages for a pharmaceutical error.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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