Articles Posted in Common Errors

Dispensing errors are an unfortunate yet frequently occurring situation in many retail and hospital pharmacies. While some Maryland pharmacy errors may not result in severe consequences, other errors can be deadly to consumers and patients. In addition to thousands of health supplements, herbs, and lotions, nearly 7,000 prescription medications and countless over-the-counter drugs are available in the country. Pharmacy errors are occurring at an alarming rate because of the growing number of pharmaceutical and holistic substances on the market in conjunction with staff shortages.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 8,000 people die because of a medication error every year, and hundreds of thousands of patients experience adverse reactions or other complications. These startling numbers result in exorbitant costs; additionally, many patients experience physical pain and psychological suffering because of medication errors.

While there are many reasons that pharmacy errors occur, the primary causes stem from communication failure, illegible handwriting, incorrect selection, and pharmacist or technician confusion. While some errors involve human error, others involve flawed or defective automated systems. In some cases, the combination of these errors results in improper dispensing.

The seriousness and speed with which the Covid-19 pandemic has overburdened the American medical system has been troubling. Because of the urgent dangers presented by the virus, drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have been incentivized to develop and market preventative and therapeutic medications to address Covid-19 as quickly as possible. Because these medications are urgently needed, the Food and Drug Administration has been unable to fully test and approve all of the new drugs, instead of granting some of the emergency use authorization while the full approval is pursued.

An antiviral drug regimen that was recently developed by Pfizer has shown much promise at preventing serious cases of Covid-19 based on early studies. The FDA has granted emergency use authorization to the treatment, however, not all of the possible side effects and interactions are yet known. A recently published pharmaceutical industry report discusses possible side effects of the new treatment in patients with moderate to severe kidney disease and emphasizes the requirement for pharmacists to make dosage adjustments for such patients who are prescribed the drugs.

According to the industry report, the new drug regimen Paxlovid was developed by Pfizer and granted emergency use authorization by the FDA. The drug regimen is indicated to be used by patients who have tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19 and is at moderate to high risk of being hospitalized or dying from the virus. Because the drugs appear to react differently in people with abnormal kidney function, the emergency use authorization included a dosage adjustment instruction for patients with moderate kidney disease. Under the emergency use authorization, patients with severe kidney disease should not be prescribed the treatment at all.

Medication errors can occur at many different steps in the process of prescribing and dispensing medication. One point at which an error can occur is in providing the correct dosage according to the prescription. A dosage that is too strong or too weak can have serious and lasting effects on a patient. In the event of an incorrect, a patient can file a Maryland pharmacy injury claim against those responsible for the error. In a negligence suit, the patient would have to prove that the defendant in the lawsuit owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the defendant failed to meet that duty by wrongfully acting or failing to act, the plaintiff was injured as a result, and the defendant’s wrongful acts caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In a civil claim, the plaintiff must prove each of the elements by a preponderance of the evidence standard.

Providers and insurers may argue that a patient has not shown that the injuries were caused by the medication error rather than some other condition. This is why experts are often needed in such cases and a lot of investigation is required for these claims. In a successful pharmacy error claim, a victim may be able to recover financial compensation for the damages the plaintiff suffered. These damages may include medical expenses (past and future), physical therapy, transportation costs, lost wages, and physical and emotional suffering.

All claims are subject to a statute of limitations, meaning a time limit for filing a claim. Generally, a negligence claim in Maryland is subject to a three-year statute of limitations. In any case, consulting with an experienced Maryland injury attorney about a potential case as soon as possible is advisable.

Many people take some form of medication on a daily basis. Whether it is a short stretch of antibiotics or a daily pill to help with your blood pressure, recipients of medications should be able to reasonably trust that their pharmacies and healthcare providers are giving them proper care. Sometimes, however, even pharmacists and professionals are prone to errors. These errors, however, can often have devastating consequences if they involve medications. Maryland pharmacies can be held accountable for the errors they make.

According to a recent report summarizing common medication errors in long-term care facilities, pharmacists are essential as gatekeepers in the proactive prevention of prescription errors. Some of the most common medication errors include issues with dispensing, delays in delivery, and expired inventory.

Dispensing errors in long-term facilities often include incorrect dosages, incorrect drugs, incorrect patients, incorrect routes, or incorrect times. Many times, pharmacists will mix up lookalike and soundalike drugs in pharmacies. In addition, incorrect packaging can also result in dispensing errors.

Medications not only have to be safe but also must contain sufficient warnings and instructions so that patients will know how to use them safely. A medication’s lack of clear instructions and warnings puts patients at risk. A plaintiff may bring a Maryland pharmacy claim against a drug manufacturer for failing to warn of the dangers of taking a medication.

Unless a danger is obvious and widely known, the medication must provide adequate warnings concerning the medication’s risks, such as known side effects. Warnings must also be clear and easy to understand. The medication also must include adequate instructions on how to take the medication safely. Courts will consider the knowledge and expertise of the average consumer that uses the medication. If a medication’s instructions are not clear enough or do not contain sufficient information so that consumers will know how to safely use the medication, the instructions are not sufficient, and the manufacturer may be liable for injuries that occur as a result.

In cases where a patient is injured due to a lack of sufficient instructions or failure to adequately disclose risks, the patient may be able to file a Maryland injury claim and recover financial compensation for the injuries. Successful plaintiffs may be able to recover financial compensation for damages including medical bills, psychological suffering, future medical expenses, lost wages, and more. One recent study revealed that at half of the patients were using inhalers incorrectly.

Medication errors are an unfortunate yet avoidable part of the healthcare system in the United States. While technology, training, and oversight aimed at reducing medication errors have improved over the years, these instances continue to occur. According to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), Maryland medication errors cost patients, consumers, and the healthcare system millions of dollars. Further, data indicate that medication errors harm over 1.5 million people each year.

Medication errors are preventable events that result in inappropriate medication use and patient harm. The events may stem from a healthcare professional’s conduct, a specific product, or a system. For instance, errors may stem from communicating prescriptions, dispensing or administration, marketing or labeling, or monitoring. Many errors stem from illegible handwritten prescriptions, missing information, incorrect drugs or dosage, orally transmitted prescriptions, or medication samples.

While advanced technology, reporting technology, and monitoring address some of the common causes of medication errors, there are fundamental issues with addressing systematic attitudes of blame and liability. Medication errors can result in serious formal punishment against the healthcare provider. These punishments can include fines, license suspension, or revocation. As a result, many healthcare providers focus on shifting blame rather than addressing the system issues that caused the error.

Pharmacies and pharmacists play a critical role in the stream of efficient healthcare in the United States. While advances in clinical therapies have resulted in life-saving measures for many people, pharmacies have become inundated with patients. As a result, Maryland pharmacies are more prone to engaging in medication errors. Medication errors are any error that occurs at any step along a patient’s healthcare treatment plan. These errors can occur when a clinician prescribes a medication to when the patient receives a refill. If a patient experiences an adverse drug event because of a medication error, they may recover damages from any negligent healthcare providers responsible for the error.

Adverse drugs events are a common yet preventable healthcare event. The Patient Safety Network (PSN) reports that healthcare providers have access to over 10,000 prescription medications, and almost one-third of American adults take five or more medications. Moreover, every year, adverse drug events make up approximately 700,000 emergency room visits. These errors occur to every type of patient, including those receiving care and treatment in the hospital.

Some groups of people are more vulnerable to medication errors. These groups include older adults, especially those who take several medications. Further, pediatric patients often experience medication errors because clinicians may fail to account for the patient’s stature before dispensing medications. Moreover, another notable factor is a patient’s socioeconomic status and literacy.

Pharmacy errors can occur at different stages of the process of prescribing and dispensing a medication. And although some pharmacy errors may be caught quickly or may have a short-time effect, others can be devastating for Maryland pharmacy error victims. To decrease the prevalence of pharmacy errors, many researchers have looked to documented cases to determine where and how changes can be made.

According to a recent article, the labeling and packaging of medication contributed to two recent pharmacy errors. In one case, the prescriber of a mediation had prescribed sacubitril-valsartan (Entresto), a multi-ingredient medication that combined two drugs. The prescriber listed the strength of the medication prescribed as 100 mg, which was to be taken twice a day. When the pharmacist was filling the prescription, the pharmacist saw that the medication did not include a 100-mg strength, so the pharmacist chose the closest choice—97/103 mg strength (97 mg of one drug and 103 mg of another). However, the prescriber had intended that the patient take the total amount of the 2 drug ingredients (49/51) with 100 mg total.

The patient’s doctor later increased the dose to 100 mg, which was to be taken twice a day. The pharmacist dispensed the same 97/103 mg medication and gave instructions to take two tablets twice a day. The patient had severe adverse effects and the error was discovered. The insert on the medication suggested that the total amount was the basis for clinical trials, but the label listed the ingredients separately. To make matters more confusing, other combination tablets are prescribed according to the strength of each drug rather than the total, such as carbidopa-levodopa (for example 25-100).

Medical errors can occur at any time—but a recent study raises the issue of whether patients in Maryland are at greater risk for Maryland medical errors on weekends than during the week. The study looked at all medication errors reported by healthcare practitioners over a two-year period at one hospital. There were 2,626 medical errors reported during the two-year period that that hospital alone. The most common sub-category of medical errors was prescribing errors, which amounted to 55% of all medical errors.

The study found statistically significant differences between many sub-categories of medical errors in day shifts and night shifts during weekdays and weekends. The medical errors were higher during the weekdays than during the weekends. But during the weekends, medical errors during the night shifts were more common than during the day shifts. The highest percentage of prescribing errors occurred on weekdays during night shifts (amounting to 77% and 79% of all errors). The study noted that other studies had found higher rates of medical errors during night shifts.

The study’s findings demonstrate that timing is an important factor in improving the use of medication and enhancing patient safety. The study reiterated that medication errors “are a serious public health problem that threatens patient safety and imposes substantial costs.” Medication errors are defined by the U.S. National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Preventing 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 health care professional, patient, or consumer.”

While many doctors and pharmacists work tirelessly to avoid pharmacy errors, unfortunately, errors still occur—sometimes, with devastating effects for patients. If a patient suffers injuries due to a Maryland pharmacy error, the patient may be able to seek financial compensation through a negligence claim.

The first step after discovering an injury due to a pharmacy error is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Maryland injury attorney can advise injured patients on what steps to take specific to their case and what deadlines apply. In general, the next step to take as quickly as possible is to find and hold on to evidence that may disappear with time, including medical records, medication bottles, photos, video surveillance, and more. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a patient may need to file a claim or a notice of the claim quickly as well. Each claim is subject to a statute of limitations, which limits the amount of time in which a claim may be filed. Depending on the circumstances of the case, there may need to be a substantial investigation done before and after a complaint is filed, including determining the names and entities responsible for the patient’s injuries who should be named as plaintiffs, the basis for the complaint, and alleged damages.

In a negligence claim, a plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty of care toward the plaintiff, the defendant failed to meet that duty by acting or failing to act in some way, the defendant’s lack of care caused the plaintiff’s damages, and the plaintiff suffered damages.

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