Medical errors are consistently ranked as one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with some estimating that as many as 440,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. One of the more common medical mistakes are pharmacy errors that occur in retail and hospital pharmacies. Pharmacy errors can be harmful not only when patients have a negative interaction with the unprescribed drug but also when a patient fails to get the necessary medication.
Pharmacists are highly educated and well-trained medical professionals, like doctors, dentists, or nurses. Because of this, pharmacists have a professional duty to ensure that their patients are provided the correct medication, in the right dose, with the appropriate instructions. When a pharmacist makes an error, and a patient suffers as a result, the patient may be able to pursue a Maryland pharmacy error lawsuit against the negligent pharmacist as well as the pharmacy where the error occurred.
Given the prevalence of pharmacy errors, significant effort has been devoted to understanding the cause of these errors. It has been determined that certain medications are more likely to be involved in a medication error. Typically, these are medications that have similarly spelled or pronounced names as other drugs. Industry professionals call these look-alike sound-alike drugs, or LASA drugs. The most dangerous LASA drugs are those that share their names with drugs that have adverse interactions with other commonly prescribed drugs. A few examples of LASA drugs are:
- dexamethasone and dextromethorphan
- oxycodone and Oxycontin
- tramadol and trazodone
Of course, even when presented with a prescription for a medication that has a similar name to other medicines, one would expect a pharmacist to be able to notice the difference and select the correct medication. This brings up another common cause of pharmacy errors: pharmacist fatigue.
It is believed that the most common cause of pharmacy errors are busy, overworked pharmacists. While many people have shifted to purchasing consumable goods online, many patients are hesitant to order their prescription medication online. Thus, pharmacies are seeing increasing numbers of customers without a corresponding increase in staffing. As a result, pharmacists are often required to fill hundreds of prescriptions each day. While this is not an excuse to make an error, it does explain why errors occur.
Have You Been the Victim of a Pharmacy Error?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a Maryland pharmacy error, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained. Depending on the nature of the error as well as your injuries, you will likely need to present expert witness testimony to assist the judge or jury in understanding why the pharmacist’s error was the cause of your injury. At the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we help Maryland pharmacy error victims and their families pursue claims for compensation based on the injuries they have sustained. We work with a large network of renowned experts to help establish our clients’ cases. To learn more about how we can help you with your situation, call 410-654-3600 today.