According to the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), there are 30
million medication errors made annually by U.S. pharmacies. These errors
can be minor and easily remedied, such as issuing the wrong number of
doses, but they also can be serious or even deadly. A medication or a
prescription error is any preventable mistake that can lead to incorrect
medication packaging, dispensing or distributing which can result in harm
Common Pharmacy Errors
There are a number of common pharmacy errors, such as:
- Dispensing another patient’s prescriptions to you.
- Dispensing the wrong medication in a bottle labeled with your information.
- The label or materials do not indicate side effects, allergic reactions,
- The pharmacist does not appropriately answer your questions regarding the
- The pharmacist dispenses the medication despite your questions about its
interactions with other medications, purpose, dosage, or other issues.
- The pharmacist or pharmacy technician confuses two medications due to similar names.
Causes of Medication & Prescription Errors
Medication or prescription errors can be caused by many different factors.
The wide variety of errors that can happen can be caused by even more
situations. These situations are avoidable with proper diligence and care.
Some common causes of medication and prescription errors can include:
Overworked pharmacy staff: In many chain pharmacies, the pharmacy staff works long hours and can
fill hundreds of prescriptions each shift. Pharmacies may also use pharmacy
technicians to help fill the prescriptions. These technicians don’t
possess as extensive an education as pharmacists and may make mistakes.
Busy staff may also confuse medications, as many more common medications
are also being released in generic forms with different shapes, colors,
Inadequate training: More and more pharmacies are being built to keep up with the demand, and
more pharmacists are needed. Pharmacists are spending less time in training
before moving to oversee their own pharmacy. Inexperience and inadequate
training can lead to mistakes. Clerks and technicians also need to be
appropriately trained to recognize medications for each customer and take
the appropriate steps to ensure that customers receive the necessary information
regarding their medication.
Inadequate supervision: The pharmacist should oversee all operations within the pharmacy, but
often they are often too busy to provide the necessary supervision. It
falls to technicians to measure medications, label the bottles, and dispense
the medications. It is easy for under-trained technicians to make errors
when filling prescriptions.
Poor communication: Pharmacists and the patient’s doctors should be in communication
regarding medications and new prescriptions to ensure that the patient
receives the correct medication. Often, the busy schedules of doctors
and pharmacists alike leave important communication in the hands of clerks
Automated systems: Many pharmacies use automated systems to manage refills, patient notifications,
billing, and patient information. These systems can result in errors,
particularly when patients don’t understand or have difficulty using
the automated system. If medications aren’t filled on time or patients
aren’t appropriately notified, patients may have to go without medications
for several days while the error is resolved.
Liability for Prescription Error Injuries
While many prescription errors can be harmless, some can cause serious
illness or injuries. Even negative side effects or adverse reactions like
nausea, vomiting, or dizziness can be considered an injury caused by prescription
errors. There are some things you will need to prove in order for your
pharmacy to be held liable for your injury, such as:
- The pharmacy has a duty of care not to injure you. This is typically assumed
by the court.
- The pharmacy breached this duty of care and was negligent in their actions.
- These negligent actions directly caused your injury.
- You were injured as a result of the negligence.
- Your injury resulted in compensable damages, including hospital bills,
lost wages, and pain and suffering.
personal injury attorney will be able to help you prove each of these points, and can
advocate for your interests in settlement discussions or in court, if
needed. They can file a lawsuit on your behalf, take depositions, issue
subpoenas, and defend you in court hearings. A skilled lawyer can be a
valuable resource for your case.
Our Albuquerque personal injury attorney is committed to protecting injured clients.
Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law has more than a decade of experience to offer our clients, and our firm
will strive to offer compassionate, personalized legal service to fit
Contact our office today to schedule a