Liability for Pharmaceutical Errors
According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, a medication or pharmaceutical error is defined as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.”
Today, there are approximately 7,000 different types of prescription medications in the United States. Pharmaceutical errors are unfortunately related to hundreds of thousands of injuries and fatalities each year.
Types of Pharmaceutical Errors
The most common types of pharmaceutical errors include:
- Dispensing the wrong medication
- A patient receives another patient’s medication
- Dispensing the wrong medication in a mislabeled bottle
- Dispensing the wrong dosage
- Failure to check a patient’s history, current medication interactions, and allergies
- Incorrect communication, either oral or written regarding the medication
Who Is Liable for a Pharmaceutical Error?
The most common parties that are held liable include:
- A doctor can make a diagnosis, prescription, drug interaction, drug allergy, or dosage error.
- Healthcare Professionals (Nurse, etc.). Any healthcare professional may be charged with the incorrect administration of the medication.
- Hospitals can be held liable due to the negligence of their staff. If any doctor, medical professional, nurse, or any staff dispenses medicine incorrectly, they can be held liable for any injuries or death.
- A pharmacist can be held liable for any pharmaceutical error if the medication was prepared improperly at the pharmacy, they provided the incorrect dosage or amount, or the incorrect medication was given to the wrong patient.
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturer. The pharmaceutical company can also be held liable. If the prescription medication was manufactured improperly by the pharmaceutical company and has a defect or is incorrect in any way, then the manufacturer will be held responsible for any injuries or death. In these cases, no matter what happens with a doctor, nurse, or medical professional, the liability typically completely rests with the manufacturer of the medication.
As stated by the Mayo Clinic, the legal consequences for pharmaceutical errors can include official discipline by a medical board, civil lawsuits, or even criminal legal charges depending on the circumstances.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
You have the right to receive prescription medicine without fear. Typically, you need medicine for a medical condition that is already causing you concern, so you should feel comfortable taking medicine to help you, instead of worrying if it will injure you, or even cause death. Even the smallest of errors regarding pharmaceutical medications can result in serious injuries or death. If you suspect you have received the wrong medication and have suffered injuries, contact one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys, serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Pittston, today. We can help you fully investigate the pharmaceutical error, help you determine which medical provider or manufacturer was responsible, and help you receive and recover the compensation you are owed.
If you or a loved one were injured due to a pharmaceutical error contact O’Donnell Law Offices today at 570-821-5717 or online for a free consultation regarding your case.