When you go to the pharmacy to pick up your prescription, you trust your pharmacist and the pharmacy technicians are doing their job to ensure you receive the correct medication. Unfortunately, pharmacy mistakes and malpractice are more common than many people realize. When a pharmacy makes a medication mistake, the consequences can be deadly for the patient. Sadly, pharmacy errors result in traumatic injuries and deaths.
What Should You Do If You Receive the Wrong Medication?
It can be shocking and frightening to realize that you may have been taking the wrong medication. If you receive the wrong medication from the pharmacy, you should take steps to protect your health and your legal rights for recourse.
Steps to take if you receive the wrong medication include:
- Do not take another dose of the medication.
- Call your doctor immediately. Let the office know that you received the wrong medication and you are unsure if the medication may have caused you harm.
- Contact the pharmacy right away to report the error.
- Save the bottle and any unused medication.
- Preserve the receipt, bag, and any other documentation received from the pharmacy.
- Avoid providing a statement to a representative for the doctor or pharmacy without legal counsel.
- Contact an attorney for advice and guidance regarding your legal rights and options.
Why Do Pharmacies Make Mistakes?
Human error is often the underlying factor when a person receives the wrong medication at the pharmacy. Some of the common causes of pharmacy errors include:
- Drug names that are similar
- Prescriptions that are difficult to read
- Misinterpreting a prescription
- Too many phone calls and distractions
- Understaffed pharmacies
- Failing to have another employee double check the prescription
- Lack of concentration and focus
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Too many customers or an unusually busy day
- Failing to counsel the patient about the prescription
In some cases, a doctor may prescribe the wrong medication, and the pharmacy is completely innocent in the mistake. Regardless of whether the pharmacy is at fault or the prescribing doctor is at fault, patients who receive the wrong prescription may have a medical malpractice claim or a pharmacy malpractice claim.
What Are Some of the Common Mistakes Made By Pharmacies?
In addition to giving a patient the wrong medication, other pharmacy errors can result in a patient receiving medication that could be dangerous and harmful. Other medication errors made by pharmacies include:
- Compounding errors when a pharmacist is required to mix ingredients at the pharmacy to fill the prescription.
- Providing the incorrect dose of medication.
- Printing the wrong dosing instructions for the prescription and other labeling errors.
- Giving the patient a stronger dose of the medication.
- Failing to identify drugs that could have harmful interactions.
- Giving drugs to patients that are outdated.
- Substituting generic drugs without authorization from the physician.
Pharmacy errors can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. Seeking assistance from a legal professional may help you determine what you should do if you have received the wrong prescription. Contact our team at Nagel Rice, LLP today to discuss your pharmacy error case.