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Types of Errors

Dangerous and Defective Drugs If you put your trust in a pharmaceutical company and were hurt by their product, you deserve compensation for your suffering.
Wrong Medication Did you receive the wrong medication or incorrect prescription from a pharmacy? If you have suffered because of a medication error please call us for a free case review.
Wrong Dosage Common forms of medication error: incorrect dosage error. Order our free book to learn how to protect yourself and your family from wrong dosage errors.
Other Errors Order our free book, "How to Make Pharmacies Pay for your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors, to learn your rights in prescription error cases.
Kids Rx Errors Order a free copy of The Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Children Against Pharmacy Errors. If you have suffered a prescription error contact our firm today.
Pharmacy Malpractice If you have suffered an injury because a pharmacy dispensed the wrong medication or made an error with your prescription, you are able to file a claim for negligence or malpractice and receive the compensation you deserve.
Walgreens Pharmacy Error Claims There have been numerous claims brought against Walgreens for pharmacy errors or prescription errors. Order our free book to learn how to take action.
CVS Pharmacy Error Claims If you've been injured because of a CVS Pharmacy prescription error, call us for help with your lawsuit at 888-526-7616.
State Pharmacy Boards If you have been severely injured because of a medication error, contact board-certified attorneys immediately to investigate your case free of charge.
Drug & Pharmacy Error Prevention Filing a pharmacy error lawsuit is the only way to make pharmacies take accountability for mistakes. Call our board certified attorneys for a free case review.
State Pharmacy Laws State laws on pharmacy malpractice. Learn the pharmacy error Statute of Limitation laws that apply to your state. Call 877-342-2020 for a free consultation.

Preventing Medication Errors with Generic Drugs

David W. Hodges
Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law

When a doctor writes a prescription for a medication, he or she will usually write the brand-name of the drug on the prescription; however, sometimes, the doctor will allow generic substitutions to be made. Occasionally pharmacists will automatically switch the brand-name prescription to the generic version without telling the customer or the doctor. While you would like the pharmacist to explain this to you up front, you may be asking yourself: what’s the harm in this?

Protecting Your Health While Taking Generic Prescriptions

According to the FDA, generic drugs have to live up to the same standards as and are chemically identical to brand-name drugs. In order to be approved by the FDA, the generic drug must:

  • Be bioequivalent (chemically identical to the brand-name)
  • Contain the same active ingredients
  • Have the same effective treatment
  • Contain the same purity, strength and quality
  • Have the same dosage form, safety strength and route of administration
  • Meet the same strict manufacturing regulations

The above list seems as if you can trust a pharmacist to make the switch to a generic prescription. However, in order to protect your health and prevent a drug error, you should be aware of some troubling information surrounding generic drugs.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at “trade dress,” which is the difference in a product’s appearance that sets it apart from its competitors. What this study found was that different appearances in medication can lead to medication errors. In fact, the study reveals that although generic drugs are required to look different than their branded counterparts, this appearance difference could be endangering public health.

Because the generic drug is mandated to look differently from the brand-name medication, it creates difficulty in distinguishing between the drugs that are chemically identical. The study suggests that the difference in appearance can be confusing for pharmacists. For example, a busy pharmacist may make a dispensing error by mistaking one generic drug for another.

Additionally, patients are also confused by the different appearance of generic drugs. This is because one generic drug could look different depending on what pharmacy the patient visits. The same drug may look different at CVS, Walgreens, or other pharmacies because there may be many different generics made by different manufacturers that supply different pharmacies.

The researchers of this study recommend that drug companies adopt a color-coding system to reduce the risk of a medication error. Until then, it is important for all customers to be aware of the drug name the doctor prescribed and to ask the pharmacist if the name on the prescription is different than what was expected. Additionally, if you are taking a generic prescription, ask the pharmacy to only refill your prescription with the same drug, from the same manufacturer, every time in order to reduce confusion.

If you were injured by a negligent pharmacist, please call Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P. at 888-526-7616 to speak with a skilled drug error lawyer during a free consultation and a FREE copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.