The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates at least 1.5 million individuals are harmed from prescription errors each year. Additionally, an estimated 7,000 deaths occur due to pharmacy mistakes in the U.S., costing $77 billion annually. Medical prescription and drug errors can lead to patients who seriously overdose, underdose, are poisoned, injured, and wrongfully killed. Mistakes are most often made when incorrect directions are given, dosages are inaccurate, or drug crossing interactions pose a risk and go unnoticed by trained pharmacists. Physicians and other clinicians can also be responsible for medication errors and drug related injuries.
Individuals can help protect themselves from pharmacy errors by understanding prescription risks and recalls, asking questions, and being more knowledgeable about what has been given to them and taking the time to review all medications before taking them.
Reviewing Your Medications Could Save You From a Serious Drug Injury
Pharmacies (and physicians) are responsible for delivering a safe duty of care to dispense and prescribe drugs, but patients can recognize issues and look for clues to alert them of a medication or prescription order mistake. Delivering an incorrect dosage either too much or too little, missing the risk of harmful drug interactions, giving the wrong directions or medications printed on the label are common errors that happen in U.S. pharmacies each day. In addition, medicines with similar sounds or spellings inadvertently being substituted for the correct prescriptions and even patients receiving someone else’s medication can occur. Officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say any concerns should be brought to the prescribing doctor and pharmacist before taking any medicine if:
- The appearance (color, shape, markings on tablet) is different than expected and the pharmacist hasn’t warned you about a switch in generic manufacturer.
- The smell or taste is different than expected or extremely unpleasant.
- The amount of liquid in a syringe or bottle or number of pills (more than 2 or 3) is more or less than expected.
- The number of pills in a prescription bottle is more or less than expected.
- The directions on a prescription bottle differ from what your doctor told you or included on the prescription.
- The name of the medication on the prescription bottle is not as expected or the patient’s name on the label isn’t as it should appear (including misspellings or suffixes like Jr. or Sr.).
- The reason for taking the medication (on the prescription bottle, in a leaflet, or mentioned by the pharmacist) is different than the condition you are treating.
- The doctor’s name on the medication label is not your doctor.
- The medication does not seem to be working to treat your condition as you had expected.
- If after taking a medication you experience unexpected side effects, or you begin to notice physical concerns after even just a few doses, like change in urine color, unexpected weakness or drowsiness, breathing difficulties, heart racing, or vision problems seek medical help immediately.
If there was a breach in a pharmacist’s or prescribing physician’s duty of care, it is necessary to hold the right group accountable and be compensated for any injuries or sicknesses to you or your loved one caused by the prescription or drug error.
Wagner Reese: Medical Malpractice and Pharmacy Error Attorneys
Our experienced medical malpractice and pharmacy error attorneys have helped recover millions of dollars for clients who were injured due to prescription medication mistakes, as well as for the families of those who have lost their lives as the result of pharmacist negligence. Whether you yourself were seriously injured or a loved one faced illness or serious health risks or even death, we can help.