Maryland Pharmacy Accidents: What is a Dispensing Error?

In this blog, we often write about Maryland pharmacy errors, their potential negative consequences, and how to recover against negligent pharmacies. However, it can sometimes be difficult to understand exactly how Maryland pharmacy errors occur. Today, we focus specifically on dispensing errors—errors that occur as pharmacists dispense medication, which is one of their key responsibilities and a large part of their job.

Dispensing errors are one type of Maryland pharmacy errors that occur when the medication is dispensed into the pill bottle or other package for patients to take home. In this case, the prescription is written correctly by the doctor, but an error occurs when it comes to actually filling it. There are a few ways dispensing errors could occur—a pharmacist could dispense the wrong formulation of a medication, for example, or could put an incorrect label on it. Some research suggests that the most common dispensing errors are prescriptions given with the wrong dosage or strength of the medicine and prescriptions with the wrong medicine altogether.

Why Do Pharmacy Dispensing Errors Happen?

One of the reasons dispensing errors occur is so simple it might be missed: humans make mistakes. Despite their specialized knowledge and experience, pharmacists are human, and they are prone to mistakes just like everyone else, especially in busy, stressful, and overwhelming work environments. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, these work environments have become the norm, which can exacerbate an already existing problem.

Sometimes, Maryland pharmacy errors are caught before harm can occur. In other circumstances, the error might not be caught, but it’s minor enough that no significant harm occurs. But, unfortunately, in some cases, serious harm will occur. If a dispensing error goes uncaught and the patient takes the wrong medication for weeks, for example, or the incorrect dosage, they may suffer from an overdose, negative side effects, or negative interaction effects, among other harms. In these cases, the pharmacy can actually be held legally liable for these negative effects and the costs the patient incurs as a result. For example, if the patient has to miss work due to illness or has to go to the hospital for treatment due to a dispensing error, they may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to get the pharmacy to pay for the costs. While this does not undo the accident, it does serve to tilt the scales of justice more towards the patient and help them in the aftermath of an unfair accident.

Could You Have Been Injured by a Maryland Pharmacy Error?

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have been injured or fallen ill due to a Maryland pharmacy error, contact the personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC as soon as possible. With years of experience, our attorneys are familiar with the relevant law and legal standards and know what it takes to hold negligent pharmacies responsible. We understand the toll these accidents can take on patients and their families and will work hard to get you the best outcome possible. To learn more, give us a call today: 800-654-1949.

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