Most Maryland pharmacies receive medication from a manufacturer or reseller and then fill prescriptions as patients present them. For the most part, pharmacies are not responsible for creating the medications that they provide to patients. Some patients, however, have unique needs that are not met by commercially available drugs. For example, a young child may need a very small dose of a medication that is only available in adult doses, or a patient may be allergic to a particular ingredient in a medication.
While compounding pharmacies fill a much-needed role for some patients, they also present unique risks. Generally, compounding pharmacists attempt to mimic the effects of a particular medication while making some adjustments to the formulation. Because compounding pharmacies create custom prescriptions for patients on an as-needed basis, their product is not FDA-tested or approved.
A recent news report discusses a compounding pharmacy medication error that nearly claimed the life of the patient who thought she was taking the medication as directed. Evidently, the patient suffered from a rare disease called Hashimoto’s disease, a condition in which a patient’s immune system attacks the thyroid, resulting in insufficient hormone levels. As a result of her condition, the woman was prescribed thyroid medication by her physician.
The patient was sensitive to the ingredients contained in the mass-produced version of the medication that was prescribed by her doctor. So she went to a compounding pharmacy in hopes of obtaining medication that would have the same positive effect without any of the ingredients that were harmful to her. The patient obtained the prescription, took it as directed, and then began to feel very ill. She went to the emergency room, but was discharged after doctors were unsure what was wrong.
Shortly after the first trip to the emergency room, the woman’s boyfriend noticed that she seemed to be suffering from some kind of cognitive problem. He took the woman back to the emergency room, where she was admitted. Doctors then discovered that the woman’s hormone levels were completely off the charts, and thought that the woman had perhaps attempted suicide by overdose. It was not until after the woman was discharged that she confirmed the prescription given to her by the compounding pharmacy was 54,000% stronger than it was supposed to be.
The woman recovered from her injuries, and has since filed a personal injury lawsuit against the pharmacy. While the pharmacy admitted that it made a mistake, it denied liability for the patient’s injuries. The woman’s case against the compounding pharmacy is still pending.
Have You Been the Victim of a Pharmacist’s Negligence?
If you or someone you love has recently been injured due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At the dedicated personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent injury victims across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. in all types of personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice cases, including Maryland pharmacy errors. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 410-654-3600 today.