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What is Pharmacy Malpractice?

In a country where doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are well-educated and trained, we don’t expect them to make mistakes. Unfortunately, pharmacists are just as likely to make errors at their job as anyone else.  Research shows that up to 10% of prescriptions are filled erroneously. Whether the error is filling the wrong prescription, inaccurately filling a prescription, or failing to provide patients with the necessary information, these errors can be detrimental to patients.  Of the hundreds of prescriptions pharmacists fill every day, it’s no surprise that mistakes happen.  Pharmacy malpractice happens frequently in the United States. Between 1 and 1.5 million Americans are injured from medication errors each year. Close to 50% of Americans take prescription medication at least once a month. This means that around 1 in 100 prescriptions will cause an injury. Elderly persons and those with limited access to healthcare may be affected by pharmacy malpractice injuries at higher rates. The most common cause of pharmacy malpractice is distraction, accounting for an estimated 75% of cases. Medication malpractice leads to an additional $3.5 billion in additional medical costs each year. 100% of those injured by pharmacist errors can reach out to a pharmacy malpractice lawyer for help. The seasoned Syracuse and Rochester area attorneys at  DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can review your case to see if you may have a valid claim against the pharmacy/pharmacist for dispensing the incorrect medication.

Individuals place great trust in pharmacists to properly mix and dispense medications. A pharmacist is also responsible for double-checking medications which are prepared by technicians, who can be inexperienced and low-paid employees. Pharmacists are specialists and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with a reasonable person with similar education and training. They must exercise judgment concerning a patient’s use of medications, drug interactions, and refills.

Shockingly, every day people receive incorrect prescriptions from their local pharmacy. The errors usually occur when the wrong medicine is prescribed, the pharmacy fills the prescription with the incorrect medication, or the wrong dosage of the correct prescription is dispensed. Many times, the effects of the wrong medication are minor, unfortunately, many incorrect prescriptions result in injuries that are not so benign. Some situations end in the patient dying from the medication error.

The dangerous thing about a pharmacy making a medication error is that many times the patient may not even know that they are taking the wrong medication until adverse side effects occur and their hospital or doctor advises them of the problem. Many times, a trip to the emergency room and hospital admission is required if the mistake was severe enough.

Potential reasons for receiving the wrong medicine vary. A pharmacist that is overworked and undertrained might accidentally give you medicine with a similar name because they are not paying attention or doesn’t know the difference between the medicines. Many medicines have very similar names, making it easy for undertrained pharmacists to provide the wrong one.  You might also receive the wrong medicine simply because a pharmacist was distracted and not paying attention.  Pharmacy mistakes are one of the leading causes of adverse drug reaction deaths. Pharmacists must sometimes work 12-hour shifts or even more just to keep up with the growing number of prescriptions ordered each day. Furthermore, every prescription requires paperwork that some pharmacists have a relatively inexperienced clerk or technician complete. Another reason that pharmacy mistakes and medication errors take place is the drug names. Some meds sound a lot like others which makes mix-ups easy. Fatigue, lack of training, and highly technical information are all reasons that pharmacy mistakes are so abundant.

You can’t really avoid a medicine mix-up because you are not the one behind the counter filling the bottles. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure you do not take the wrong medicine. Before taking the medicine, look at the paperwork your doctor gave you and make sure the names and the dosage from the papers and the pill bottle match. If they look different, call your doctor right away to tell them the medicine you received. The paperwork you get from the pharmacy should also give a description of the medicine such as the color, size, etc. Make sure the pills you have in the bottle match the description. Sometimes a pharmacist might accidentally put the wrong pills in the bottle but put the correct label making you think you have the correct medicine. If you have any concerns, you should always call your doctor.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by a wrong prescription, wrong dose, or inaccurate labeling by a pharmacist, contact us to speak with our personal injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.  We can help you understand your legal rights and determine the best options possible to ensure you and your family get the help you need.  The dedicated medical malpractice attorneys represent patients and their families who have suffered harm due to medical malpractice in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in areas such as Utica, Canandaigua, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Lyons, Elmira, Wampsville, Auburn, Herkimer, Oneida, Oswego, Ithaca, Watertown, and Lowville. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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