Central Florida Pharmacy Malpractice (Medication Errors) Why Does It Happen?

Why do pharmacies make mistakes with your prescription and how do you prove your claim?

You left your doctor’s office with a prescription and went to the pharmacy and had it filled. You took the medication as prescribed and you ended up getting sicker. You called your doctor’s office and she was not in so you finally go to the emergency room to get checked out. You tell the emergency room doctor your story. She runs some tests and finally comes back to you and tells you that you were given the wrong prescription at the pharmacy.

The doctor admits you into the hospital for a few days because the improper medication caused your blood pressure and heart to act up. You are released from the hospital after a few days and your still not well after a month.  Typically, there are three ways that we see pharmacy malpractice (medication error claims).

The problem with the modern retail pharmacy

Years ago, your pharmacy was locally owned.  You knew your pharmacist and the pharmacist knew you and your family.  There were even times when the pharmacist would drop by your house to drop off a prescription because you were too ill to driver over or because the medication had to be ordered. .

This type of relationship is not the case any longer.  Retail pharmacy is big business. Pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Publix, Winn Dixie, Target and Wal-Mart fill hundreds if not thousands of prescriptions a day. Most of the prescriptions are filled by pharmacy techs not the pharmacist.

In the last year I’ve had 3 pharmacy malpractice (medication error) cases that I accepted.  The three most common pharmacy malpractice claims that I see in my practice are: Dosing errors – giving the wrong strength medication; Incorrect labeling, which includes, giving the wrong instructions to the customer; and Dispensing the wrong drug (medication).

The 3 pieces of evidence you must have to prove your pharmacy malpractice (medication error) claim.

A pharmacy malpractice claim is like any other personal injury or malpractice claim.  The burden is on the person bringing the claim to prove their claim.

In order to determine if you have a valid claim we are going to need 3 pieces of evidence at the outset.  It is important that you keep these 3 pieces of evidence:

  1. A copy of the prescription written by the doctor or hospital.  You should be able to get this document from your doctor’s office;
  2. The actual pill bottle or packaging including the labeling and any remaining medication, and
  3. The written information provided to you from the pharmacy.  This is the paperwork that is usually attached to the outside of the bag explaining the medication and side effects.

WHY DO WE NEED THESE 3 PIECES OF EVIDENCE?

We need the actual prescription written so we can make sure that the error was on the pharmacy and not the doctor or hospital who wrote the prescription. It could be that the pharmacy gave you the wrong prescription but that is what the doctor or hospital ordered.

We need to see the packaging. Most of the time it is the actual bottle, hopefully, you did not consume all the medication and some of the medication is left over. All medications have manufacturing information. The labeling and the actual medication allows us to cross reference the actual medication to the label. This also allows us to make sure that the issue is with the pharmacy and not the drug company, which is especially true in this day and age when there could be 10 or more manufacturers of generic medications for your condition.

Finally, we need to see the paperwork given to you by the pharmacy.  Many times folks will tell me that they threw away the paperwork. I tell them that this is not good. They say that I can get the information from the pharmacy, which brings up the question. How do we know that the pharmacy will provide us with the same paperwork that they provided to you when you picked up your prescription?  In this step, we cross reference the paperwork provided to you, with the prescription written by the healthcare provider, with the bottle and actual medication to make sure that it all jives.

Florida pharmacy malpractice (medication error) claims have a lot of moving parts. If you have any questions about a potential claim against Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, Publix, Winn Dixie, Target or your local pharmacy because they dispensed the wrong medication, you can always give me a call.