How big of a problem is prescription malpractice?
The pharmacist is one of the most trusted medical professionals in the United States. We rely on pharmacists for medications that keep us alive and alleviate suffering. These medications can range from simple but powerful pain relievers to sophisticated anti-cancer drugs to the latest treatment of AIDS and HIV. As the population of America continues to age, more and more people will come to rely on the drugs dispensed by their local pharmacy.
According to the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, dispensing errors are a problem on a national level, at a rate of (four) 4 errors per day in a pharmacy filling 250 prescriptions daily. In a 2003 article, the organization also stated that “an estimated 51.5 million errors occur during the filing of three (3) billion prescriptions each year. This figure includes 3.3 million errors of potential clinical importance.” The reality is that millions of Americans suffer from pharmacy malpractice every day and probably never know about tit until it is too late. Even in a small mistake by a pharmacist can have disastrous consequences. Modern pharmacies are very complicated and complex. Automated machines and computers are supposed to make going to the pharmacy simpler and easier, however errors still occur and constant vigilance is imperative to save innocent lives.
Faulty prescribing and filling of prescriptions can lead to death or injury in a number of ways, including adverse reactions, improper combinations of drugs and depravation of medications essential to a patient’s well being. Many prescriptions are filled by unqualified personnel who have no more than a high school education and a limited period of instruction. The prescription is then laid out on the pharmacist’s counter along with the filled bottle, where the pharmacist quickly matches it to the prescription, approves it and then places it in the bag for customer pick up.
In a recent study for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, 307 hospital pharmacies were asked to fill 10 different drug orders that had killed patients in 1998. Some contained an overdose, and the remainder was for deadly drug combinations. Shockingly, only 4 of the 307 pharmacies detected all 10 unsafe orders.
Several factors account for the appalling number of American’s killed each year as a result of faulty prescribing or filling of medication. Many prescription medications exist today with nearly identical names, making it confusing to fill out prescriptions. With an aging population, and more drugs appearing in the marketplace every day, and an increase in the number of medications being prescribed. With more drugs appearing so frequently, and more patients being prescribed regularly to treat a single disease or condition, many more prescriptions are being filled by our pharmacies, overburdening the number of pharmacists currently in existence.
Pharmacy experts say the biggest problem today is the shortage of pharmacists. In a study of 500 pharmacist malpractice claims conducted by the Pharmacist Mutual Insurance Group, the following types of errors were identified: wrong drug dispensed 52%; wrong strength dispensed 27%; wrong directions given 7.4%, for a total of 86.4 % of errors that could have been prevented.
If a prescription that is otherwise properly prescribed contradicts another prescription that the patient is already taking, severe and unexpected reactions can occur causing serious injury, or even death. Both the doctor and pharmacist have a responsibility to be aware of possible interactions and could be liable if this was to occur.
Doctors write prescriptions and pharmacists fill those prescriptions. If a pharmacist misreads a prescription and gives either the incorrect medication or the incorrect dosage of the correct medication, or if the Doctor writes the prescription and prescribes the incorrect dosage or incorrect medicine, tragic results may occur. Unfortunately, this happens with alarmingly regularity causing serious injury and sometimes even death.
Have you, or a loved one, been injured or died from an improper drug prescription? If so, do you know how to determine who may be at fault for your injuries?? Call the Law Office of Dan Newlin and Partners for a free consultation and get answers to all of your questions. Prescription malpractice is a very complex and confusing area of the law and you need an experienced attorney by your side to help you determine all your rights. Dan Newlin & Partners are those types of attorneys, and have the knowledge and resources to obtain all the compensation and benefits you are entitled to if you are the victim of prescription malpractice. Call Dan Newlin & Partners at (407) 888-8000. Call now, don’t delay.