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Pharmacy Prescription Errors

Patients that fill prescriptions from their doctors and receive drugs from a pharmacy trust that they are getting the right medication at the proper dosage. When pharmacists and doctors make errors, however, there can be serious side effects, or patients can even die. If you or a loved one has suffered from medication errors, including over- or under-dosing, dangerous drug interactions, or other adverse drug events, you may be able to hold the medical professionals responsible for their negligence.

What causes prescription errors?

There are a number of reasons that doctors and pharmacies might make mistakes with your prescription. Common causes of prescription errors include:

  • Failure to research a drug and warn patients about possible side effects
  • Multiple drug prescriptions that should not be taken together
  • Prescriptions filled with the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
  • Failure to adjust the medication to reflect changes in the patient’s condition
  • Failure to review a patient’s medical history, and prescribing a drug he or she is allergic to
  • Providing the wrong instructions for taking a drug

Every pharmacy should have procedures in place to prevent errors, and it is the pharmacist’s responsibility to verify prescriptions if there is any doubt about the exact medication the doctor prescribed. Pharmacists are also responsible for conducting a drug utilization review (DUR) and counseling you on using the medication you’re been prescribed. The DUR should include a patient profile that notes:

  • Any medications you are taking
  • Any allergies, medical conditions, or disabilities you may have
  • Any known reactions to drugs that you’ve experience

The pharmacist should also evaluate potential drug duplications, over- or under-use of the prescribed medication, drug/disease contraindications, and possible drug interactions. Discrepancies in your patient profile can have serious consequences, and cause medication errors that could be dangerous or even fatal. Your pharmacist should be aware of all the Federal Drug Administration’s drug alerts or recalls, to ensure you are not put at risk by dangerous drugs. Finally, your pharmacist should counsel you on the use of your medication, making sure you know what the medication is, what condition it is intended to treat, and how to take it.

Protect yourself from mistakes

You can help protect yourself from prescription errors by taking a few simple steps:

  • When you are prescribed medication, verify the name and the dosage with your doctor, and write the information down.
  • Always use a reputable pharmacy that’s adequately staffed, and avoid filling prescriptions online.
  • Use the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions. Patients often have more than one doctor treating them, so the pharmacist may be the only medical professional who is familiar with all the medications you are taking.
  • Verify the name of your medication and dosage with the pharmacist when you pick up your prescription, check the labels on the containers, and open any containers and check the contents.
  • Review any information provided with the drug that outlines health risks, side effects, or possible drug interactions.
  • If you have any questions, ask the pharmacist for a detailed explanation of your medication and the directions for its use.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has suffered from a pharmacy or prescription error, first contact your doctor or hospital immediately to treat any complications or side effects. Document everything related to the incorrect medication, including the dosage you took, as well as times and dates. Do not throw away or return the prescription drugs.

Contact a medical malpractice attorney

If you or a loved one has experienced a medication error, contact Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. as soon as possible for a free evaluation of your case. We provide legal representation for clients who have suffered from pharmacy errors in Miami and across South Florida, and we have the knowledge and resources to hold a negligent pharmacy or pharmacist accountable for their mistakes. Call our offices at 305-448-8585 or toll free at 877-448-8585, or fill out our online contact form, to schedule a consultation in English, Spanish, and Creole.

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