Pharmacist errors when preparing, filling, or dispensing prescription medications can cause severe injuries, long term complications, and even death. Medication dispensing errors include any deviation from prescription orders.
When Prescriptions Are Misfilled
Of the more than 4 billion prescriptions that are filled in U.S. pharmacies every year, there is about a 1.7% error rate. About 21% of those are dispensing errors. Fortunately, Pharmacy Times reports that only about two-thirds of dispensing errors actually reach patients. For those who are impacted by faulty dispensing, however, the effects can be deadly.
Consuming a single dose of incorrect prescription medication can cause dangerous drug interactions, allergic reactions, severe side effects, and the worsening of existing medical conditions. Missing a dose of a lifesaving medicine could result in the exacerbation of symptoms which could be irreversible or deadly for some patients.
Common Medication Dispensing Errors
Pharmacists are required to complete education and training programs to minimize the possibility of error. However, pharmacists still make mistakes when filling prescriptions, including:
- Dispensing incorrect doses or dosage forms
- Providing the wrong medication
- Providing inadequate instructions or labeling
- Making mistakes in preparation
- Inappropriate packaging or storage
The Most Commonly Misfilled Prescriptions
Some of the most common medications involved in prescription dispensing errors include antibiotics, opioid narcotics, antipsychotics, and insulin. Insulin prescription errors are among the most dangerous because a person with type 1 diabetes is at risk of hypoglycemia if too much insulin is provided or complications from high blood glucose levels with doses that are too small.
One-third of medication dispensing errors involve drugs with names that look or sound alike. Many more happen when drugs with similar packaging are placed next to each other on pharmacy shelves. Mistakes are also common when two or more patients have the same or similar names.
Filing a Malpractice Claim for Prescription Errors
When filing a professional malpractice claim against a pharmacist, the victim must be able to prove that the defendant was negligent in the dispensing of a prescription and that the patient sustained injuries for which seeking compensation is warranted.
With the added help of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, victims who suffer injuries resulting from misfilled prescriptions may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.