A recent report by one local Canadian news source points out that, despite there being thousands upon thousands of prescription errors in Canada each year, there is little in the way of accountability for pharmacists who make the errors. According to the report, Canada has about 38,000 pharmacists who fill about half a billion prescriptions each year. But the error rate is unknown.
One woman told reporters that she was provided a double dose of her anxiety medication when she went to have her prescription filled. Another woman told her story about how she was not told by her pharmacist that a prescribed anti-seizure medication would interfere with her birth control. She ended up getting pregnant.
Another man was provided blood-pressure medication instead of the anti-inflammatory his doctor prescribed. He was in such pain that he had to take time off from work, and he eventually lost his job of 30 years as a result of the error. Now he is on permanent disability.
Despite the growing number of pharmacy errors, only one province in Canada makes reporting errors mandatory. The remaining provinces rely on a self-reporting system. The one province that does require self-reporting—Nova Scotia—has had over 75,000 errors reported over the last three years. These range in seriousness from harmless consumption of unnecessary medication to fatal interactions with dangerous drugs.
A Pharmacist’s Duty to Patients
All pharmacists have a duty to their patients to fill their prescriptions accurately and safely. It is the pharmacist’s job to look into what other medication a patient is taking and to make sure that there are no serious interactions between the prescribed drug and any other medication a patient is taking. When these precautions are not taken, serious or fatal interactions can occur.
However, the danger is not just related to drug interactions. In some cases when a patient needs a medication desperately, a pharmacist’s failure to get the proper drug to the patient may result in serious injuries to the patient. In these cases, like the others mentioned above, the injured patient may be able to recover monetary compensation for his or her injuries from the negligent pharmacist.
In many cases, the pharmacy itself can also be named in the lawsuit. This does two things. First, it is an additional defendant that may be found liable, should one defendant not have sufficient funds to pay the judgment. Second, it prevents one party from shifting the blame for an error onto another party that isn’t present in the lawsuit.
Have You Been Injured By a Pharmacist’s Mistake?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a pharmacist’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Compensation generally includes an amount for past and future medical expenses, past and future pain and suffering, and lost wages and decreased future earning potential, if applicable. In some extreme cases, punitive damages may be awarded. To learn more, contact a dedicated Maryland pharmacy error attorney today at 410-654-3600.
More Blog Posts:
CVS Pharmacy Mixes Up Prescription, Man Sent to Hospital, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, December 15, 2014.
California Costco Pharmacy Mis-Fills One Patient’s Prescription Twice in One Year, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, January 22, 2014.