Pharmacy Malpractice Information and Legal Guide

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest and most important parts of modern American industry.  The medications the people need to survive and thrive are not cheap, and as such the businesses that provide these drugs thrive in one of the largest growth industries in the world.  It would logical to assume that because these businesses produce so much revenue that quality control would never be an issue, as providing safe and correct medications to their customers would be their stock in trade.  Not so, unfortunately.

A recent study conducted by the prestigious Institute of Medicine discovered that as many as 1.5 million Americans suffer adverse health consequences due to pharmacy medication errors.  One study discovered that medical pharmacy errors in hospital settings alone cost $3.5 billion in increased costs of additional treatment, pain and suffering.  The same study discovered that Medicare beneficiaries who receive outpatient treatment lose $887 million each year.

The pharmacy system in America contributes significantly to this disturbing trend.  Although recent advances in pharmaceutical technology should make distributing and monitoring medicines easier, unfortunately it has not.  A 2003 study of American pharmacists revealed several unsettling facts:

Pharmacy Errors in the News for February 14, 2008:

Pharmacy Error at Walgreens in Florida leads to Death.

When the public hears about certain problems relating to medical or pharmaceutical malpractice, it’s usually in the context of statistics. Statistics can easily be ignored, and the natural reaction to statistical stories is, “It’ll never happen to me.” Unfortunately, a recent feature in the USA Today shows that pharmaceutical errors in particular can happen to anyone, and the consequences can be deadly.

The report centers on a Walgreen’s in Florida with a drive-through pick-up window. These offer convenience and speed for those who just want to pick up their prescriptions and go home without waiting in line. However, it also adds to the speed at which the pharmacy employees are expected to work, which only increases the chances for errors.

The Smith family in Florida paid the ultimate price for this growing problem. Terry Paul Smith, the patient in question, needed pain pills that wouldn’t make him drowsy so he could do his job, and he was prescribed methadone. The specific mistake was that Smith was supposed to take only eight pills per day. However, the instructions stated that Smith should take them “as needed.”

Smith took 22 pills over the next 36 hours, and he died suddenly as a result. That particular Walgreen’s pharmacy filled almost 400 prescriptions on that day alone, and the pressure to perform undoubtedly led to this result. The family and Walgreen’s reached a confidential settlement, so many of the specifics will never be known.

What the public should know is that you need to be extremely careful when you’re getting a prescription filled. Ask any questions you have, and make sure that your directions are as they should be. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a pharmaceutical error, contact an attorney immediately to schedule an initial consultation.

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Pharmacy Malpractice Facts:

  • Between 1990 and 2003 2,270 pharmacists and pharmacy assistants were the subject of malpractice complaints
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy assistants averaged 1.14 malpractice reports lodged against them between 1990-2003
  • Between 1990 and 2003, there were 1,290 medical malpractice incidents reported to the National Practitioner Databank.
  • There were 772 malpractice payment reports lodged against pharmacists between 1990 and 1996

Most experts believe that there will be even more incidents in the future as more Americans require more medication to ensure their health.  Although some pharmacy mistakes cause no lasting harm, others can cause illness, disability, and even death.  Some common pharmacy malpractice errors include:

  • Incorrect management of dosage that reflects changes in the condition of the patient
  • Failure to recognize what medications conflict with other medications
  • Distributing the wrong medication, dosage, or amount to the wrong patient
  • Failure to recognize pre-existing allergies that could conflict with the medication
  • Incorrect medical advice when distributing medication to a customer.

There are any number of variables that can result in pharmacy malpractice, but the end result is the same; innocent people like you suffer due to the negligence or irresponsibility of another.  If you or someone you love was the victim of pharmacy malpractice, you need to consult an attorney immediately.  Let our dedicated and professional pharmacy malpractice lawyers help you stand up for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.  You must act quickly, for time restrictions called statutes of limitations give you only so much time to pursue your case.  Do not lose your opportunity for restitution.  Contact us today.

Pharmacy malpractice lawyers are available in these States:

Alabama (AL), Alaska (AK), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Montana (MT), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), North Dakota (ND), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), Washington DC (DC), West Virginia (WV), Wisconsin (WI), Wyoming (WY). For a printable version of this page, click here

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Pharmacy Malpractice Legal web site updated on 8/10/2010