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FAQs Regarding Lawsuits Over Pharmacy Errors
1. What constitutes the basis of pharmacy error lawsuit?
If a patient needs to seek medical treatment as a result of a pharmacy error, that might meet the threshold for having a case against the pharmacy. The first thing I would ask the client is “Did you need to seek medical attention?”
2. What are the kinds of errors that are typically made?
There are two main types of pharmacy errors:
- Where they prescribe/administer the wrong dosage of the correct drug
- Where they put the wrong medication in a bottle marked as the correct drug
3. Do some of the mistakes happen because many drugs have very similar names?
Yes. Many drugs do have very similar names but they have entirely different effects and are for treating very different issues, so similar names can cause serious issues.
4. How often do patients get incorrect prescriptions?
Although it does not happen that often, pharmacy errors are much more common than most people think. Because our population is aging and taking more and more prescriptions, these incidences are on the rise. According to the FDA, 1.3 million people are injured annually in the U.S. due to pharmacy errors.
CLICK HERE to read the full article “Medication Errors More Than Double”
5. What types of medical issues have been caused to people with medication errors?
The worst case I’ve seen is where the pharmacy made a major error in the formulation of the prescription, which resulted in the death of the patient.
I’ve also personally worked on a case where a patient got an improper dose of steroids and ended up with “steroid rage” which resulted in him being involuntarily hospitalized for three days.
6. What are the steps taken to prove that an error was made and where the error originated?
The best way to go about proving where and when the medication error occurred is to make sure the person taking the drug saves the remaining drug and the container that the prescription came in. Without these, the case becomes very tough.
7. Are there many attorneys handling these types of cases?
I am one of the few attorneys in Minnesota that has experience in medication error cases like these.
8. What traits make a lawyer good for these cases?
Someone who has a good background in science and experience in handling cases where science is a component of the case. Because I’ve had extensive experience handling cases dealing with both foodborne illness and medical malpractice, I’ve come across a great deal of information that is helpful in medication error cases.
9. In general how long does it take to settle a case involving a pharmacy error?
In my experience, these cases can go pretty quickly. I’ve always been able to settle this type of case. The companies generally want to settle when we have the correct evidence; the bottle, the remaining drugs, the pharmacy records, etc.
10. How can people protect themselves from medication errors?
I tell people that if they are new to a medication they should look at the bottle and look at two things:
- Does the dosage appear to be the correct dosage? It is important to make sure that the dosage listed on the bottle is the one that the doctor prescribed. The side of the bottle describes what the tablet should look like and the dosage strength. For instance it will say “Blue round tablet side one will have the number 20 printed on it.” Take the time to double check that the imprint of the dosage on the drug matches the dosage description on the prescription label.
- It is important to make sure that the correct tablet is in the bottle. This is especially true when you have been told that the manufacturer of the drug has changed, or the dosage of the prescription has changed. The inscription code on the tablet should match the description of the tablet on the side of the bottle. A code number may look similar to this: DN995.
11. What should people do if they think they have been injured due to a medication error?
First they need to keep the drugs, the container and any receipts or paperwork that came with the prescription. Then they should contact a qualified attorney. Feel free to contact Elliot Olsen for a free telephone consult.