Medication errors can occur anywhere from your local pharmacy to a compounding pharmacy or even at a hospital pharmacy. When medication mistakes cause harm, a pharmacy malpractice case can be pursued. While most people consider pharmacy malpractice to be something directed at negligent pharmacists at chain stores, or their local pharmacy, hospital pharmacists can also make crucial pharmacy errors that result in patient harm or death.
Most hospital pharmacy errors can occur in a number of ways: miscommunication between doctor and pharmacy, and labeling and packaging inconsistencies, among the following:
- Miscommunication between prescribing physician and pharmacy.
- Labeling and packaging inconsistencies at the pharmacy.
- Product changes are not always communicated to pharmacy staff.
- Buyers do not always inform all pharmacy supervisors when alternate products are purchased.
- Pharmacists tend to focus on the ingredient name and volume, but not on the concentration.
- Pharmacists do not assume that they would make mistakes.
- Standardized processes are not always in place.
Communication issues and lapses continue to be a major factor in pharmacy malpractice cases. For example, Dr. Michael R. Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD, the president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) said,
“Communication always turns out to be a major issue when the ISMP conducts consultations. Everything from the way orders are communicated by computers, the way drugs are listed on a screen, look-alike drug names, handwriting problems, abbreviations, verbal orders, telephone orders, the way we speak with one another—all that falls under communication.”
Unfortunately, all humans will make mistakes; however, medication safety hinges on doctors, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacist being accurate. When people in these positions do not communicate accurately with each other, or fail to follow protocol with every step in the dispensing process, pharmacy malpractice may be the result. In order to correct pharmacy errors, doctors need to check patients’ medical records to verify allergies or that the new prescription will not interfere with the medication they are currently taking. Additionally, pharmacists need to check the prescription to see if it makes sense for a patient’s age, be aware of dose warnings, read medication labels, and triple check a pharmacy technician’s work.
If you have been a victim of a medication mistake due to a negligent pharmacist, you may have rights to a financial recovery. Call Kennedy Hodges at 888-526-7616 to speak with a skilled pharmacy malpractice attorney in a no-cost consultation. Also, request a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.