Each year, it is estimated that there are approximately 700,000 medication errors resulting in over 100,000 patient hospitalizations. The pharmacy industry realizes that this is a major problem, and for decades has been taking steps to reduce the rate of prescription errors among retail and hospital pharmacists. Most recently, a representative from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) gave a lecture discussing common types of pharmacy errors and what pharmacists can and should do to guard against them.
Medication errors occur due to a breakdown somewhere along the line; from when a physician writes a prescription to when the pharmacist provides it to the patient. According to a recent industry news report detailing the speaker’s comments, she claimed that pharmacy errors occur throughout various points in the process, and pharmacists should take precautions every step of the way.
The ISMP representative discussed that there are several situations in which an error was more likely to occur. For example, when a pharmacist is dealing with drug shortages, vaccines, improperly or unlabeled medication, and insufficient drug allergy alerts, the rate of error was highest. The pharmacist detailed three of the most alarming prescription errors that she was made aware of over the past year, including:
- A patient who was prescribed 25 mg of hydralazine rather than the prescribed medication, hydroxyzine;
- A child-patient who developed Parkinson-like symptoms after being provided with an improperly diluted dose of risperidone; and
- An elderly Alzheimer’s patient who was given both a 5mg and 10 mg dose of donepezil at the same time rather than the prescribed 5mg dose for four weeks to be followed by the 10mg dose afterward.
The speaker concluded by making a few very specific recommendations to avoid certain types of common errors, and advised pharmacists not to resist change when it comes to implementing new safety procedures.
Pharmacist Liability Following a Prescription Error
Pharmacists, like doctors, are medical professionals and are held to a high standard. When a pharmacist’s error results in harm to a patient, the patient may be able to hold the pharmacist liable for any injuries caused by the pharmacist’s error.
It is important that victims of pharmacy errors are aware that these cases can be exceedingly complex, and may require the testimony of an expert medical or scientific witness in order to successfully establish liability. Anyone considering pursuing a pharmacy error lawsuit is advised to speak with a dedicated pharmacy error attorney prior to proceeding with their case.
Are You in Need of a Dedicated Pharmacy Error Attorney?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a Maryland pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing injury victims in all types of Maryland personal injury and wrongful death cases, including prescription error lawsuits. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Children Are Especially at Risk of Serious Injury or Death Following a Maryland Pharmacy Error, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, June 15, 2018.
Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Premises Liability Case in Recent Drug Overdose Case, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, June 1, 2018.