Late last month on Halloween, a Canadian pharmacy accidentally provided medication used to treat bipolar disorder to young trick-or-treaters who visited the store. According to one local news source that covered the story, seven children are known to have actually taken the medication in place of candy. However, all of the pills were located before they were consumed by the children.
Evidently, the pharmacy had a candy bin out on the pharmacy counter so that young trick-or-treaters could help themselves as their parents conducted their business. However, at some point in the day, a customer who was visiting the pharmacy to fill her 17-year-old son’s prescription for quetiapine and divalproex inadvertently dropped the medication on the floor prior to leaving.
Another customer, thinking she was preventing a potential mix-up, picked up the medication off the floor and put it on the counter, next to the candy bin. Shortly afterward, a pharmacy employee saw the pills sitting next to the bin and then dumped them into the candy bin. Seven of the individually wrapped pills were given out to children over the course of the day before management discovered what had occurred.
Pharmacy Liability May Extend Past Filling and Dispensing
Courts have long held that pharmacists can be held responsible for any injuries caused by the negligent distribution of the wrong type, strength, or dose of a medication. However, there would be a strong case that a pharmacist’s liability would also extend to a situation like the one discussed above, in which a child ended up with potentially seriously harmful medication due to the negligence of a pharmacy employee.
The guiding principle in pharmacy error cases is negligence. In other words, did the pharmacist’s conduct violate a duty he or she had to a patient? If the answer is yes, there may be a viable case against either the pharmacy or the individual pharmacist as long as the patient can prove that their injuries were a result of ingesting the medication provided by the pharmacist. This element of causation is often the most difficult to prove.
Many times, a pharmacy error case will rely on expert testimony to prove that a plaintiff’s symptoms most likely resulted from the ingestion of the medication. Without this testimony, cases may be hard to prove according to the necessary burden of proof. To learn more about how patients can prove cases against negligent pharmacists, contact a Maryland pharmacy error attorney.
Have You Been the Victim of a Pharmacist’s Negligence?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you cover the costs of your injuries. The skilled personal injury advocates at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience in pharmacy error and medical malpractice cases, and we know when an expert is needed and how to select a qualified expert for each individual case. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
New Study Shows Post-Op Medication Errors More Common than Previously Thought, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2015.
Pharmacist Mistakenly Provides Chemotherapy Drug to Elderly Patient and Then Tries To Cover Up His Mistake, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2015.