Pharmacists are charged with a very important duty in our society: to verify and fill prescriptions issued by physicians and to answer any patient questions that may arise. In addition, pharmacists are a second line of defense against physician error, checking prescriptions against other medications that the patient is taking.
However, with the burden on pharmacists increasing as more and more people obtain healthcare, it seems that corners are being cut, potentially increasing the risk of a pharmacy error.
In fact, one report recently released by Pharmaceutical Journal discusses a recommendation that pharmacists keep similarly named medications physically apart from one another to reduce the chance of confusion.
The article discuss three factors that increase the chance of a medication mix-up:
- If the look and the sound of the medications are similar, it is more likely the two will be confused for each other.
- If two medications are physically near each other, the chance of an error goes up.
- If the packaging of two medications are similar, it may also lead to confusion.
Thus, the UKMI (United Kingdom Medical Information Network) advises that similarly named and packaged medications are not kept near one another. Often, medications for a particular disorder will all have a similar name. Thus, when a pharmacy organizes its medications by alphabetical order, similarly named medications for the same disorder may be near one another. This can be a problem if one drug has potential interactions with other common drugs or can lead to an overdose more easily.
Pharmacists’ Liability in Medical Mix-Up Cases
When a pharmacy error does occur, the pharmacist on duty, as well as the pharmacy, may be liable for any injuries that are caused as a result of the error. In some cases, a patient may catch the error, not take the medication, and notify the pharmacist. When this happens, there is no liability on the part of the pharmacist because there was no harm caused to the patient.
However, when a patient does take medication that was not prescribed to him or her and suffers injury as a result, there may be liability on the part of the pharmacist and the pharmacy. To learn more about the laws that allow for the innocent victims of medical mix-ups to recover for their damages, contact a dedicated pharmacy error attorney today.
Have You Been Provided the Wrong Medication?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured after taking medication that was not prescribed to you, but was provided to you by a pharmacist in a medical mix-up, you may be entitled to monetary damages. However, pharmacists and pharmacies have skilled legal teams that they employ to help deflect the blame in these situations, so it is best to have counsel of your own to help assert your rights. Contact a dedicated pharmacy error attorney today by calling 410-654-3600 to schedule a free initial consultation. There is no risk to calling, since we won’t recover any money unless you do.
More Blog Posts:
New Zealand Man Dies Due to Pharmacist’s Error, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, September 3, 2014.
Confusing Drug Names May Lead to More Prescription Drug Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, August 20, 2014