Understanding the 6 Types of Pharmacy Malpractice

By Greg Kohn

Pharmacists, like doctors, have a duty of care toward their patients. When pharmacists breach their duty of care either through negligence or willful misconduct, severe and sometimes life-threatening consequences can result. 

New Jersey pharmacy malpractice attorneys help patients who have been harmed due to pharmacy negligence recover compensation for their injuries. Understanding the six types of Pharmacy Malpractice is critical to determining if you or a loved one have suffered pharmacy malpractice.

6 Types of Pharmacy Malpractice

1. Dispensing the Wrong Medication

Pharmacists have a responsibility to verify that the medication being dispensed matches the prescribed medicine. Common pharmaceutical errors resulting in patients receiving incorrect medications include:

  • Confusing similarly named drugs, such a Prilosec and Prozac
  • Confusing the prescriptions of two or more people 
  • Mislabeling prescription bottles 

2. Dispensing the Wrong Dosage

Sometimes, pharmacists dispense the correct drug, but the wrong dosage, typically due to:

  • Mathematical or compounding errors
  • Inability to read the physician’s handwriting

3. Missing Instructions and Failure to Advise

Serious complications can occur when pharmacists fail to provide correct instructions or fully advise patients regarding the medications, such as:

  • Interactions of the drug with alcohol or certain foods
  • When and how far apart to time taking the medication
  • Prohibited activities while taking the medication, such as driving or operating equipment
  • Risks to pregnant parties
  • Failure to print and provide warning labels 

4. Wrong Directions

Providing accurate and complete directions is part of a pharmacist’s responsibility to the patient.  Wrong directions sometimes result from:

  • Failure to understand a doctor’s directions
  • Providing directions for the wrong drug or dosage 

5. Failure to Run Medication Conflicts Contra-indications

Patient-doctor communication is essential to protecting against potentially lethal drug interactions. Pharmacists provide a final safety check to ensure that newly prescribed medications will not interfere or harmfully conflict with pre-existing prescriptions.  

6. Failure to Consider Allergies

Pharmacists have a responsibility to cross-reference prescribed medicines against a patient’s known allergies, avoiding dispensing medications that could harm the patient. The physician should alert the physician and the patient of any conflicts.  

Do You Have a Pharmacy Malpractice Case?

While a pharmacist’s negligence may provide a basis for a pharmacy malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to show that the pharmacist owed you a duty of care, and by breaching that responsibility, you suffered harm and damages:

  • A relationship existed between you and the pharmacist which established a duty of care. 
  • You relied on and trusted the pharmacist to fill your prescription, advise you regarding the medication, and the medication as related to your medical and health conditions. 
  • A duty of care existed by the pharmacist, and the pharmacist failed to provide the required standard of care through negligence or willful disregard.
  • A failure to meet the duty of care resulted in harm to you through illness, pain and suffering, or injury. 
  • The breach of care by the pharmacist resulted in actual damages to you.

Linking pharmacist negligence and adverse causal effects is essential to a successful pharmacist malpractice lawsuit. 

Contact a New Jersey Pharmacist Malpractice Attorney Today

Each time you seek medical treatment, you entrust your health and well-being to the training and experience of doctors and nurses attending to your care. Similarly, you extend that same level of trust to the pharmacies and pharmaceutical staff dispensing prescribed medications.

If medication error by a New Jersey pharmacist or pharmacy has harmed you or a loved one, you may have an actionable claim and right to compensation. Contact our office today to speak with a trusted and experienced New Jersey pharmacist malpractice attorney. Together, we can assess your situation, gather evidence, and pursue damages and justice for your suffering.  

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.