Prescription drug errors are a significant public health hazard. According to data cited by the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer harm due to medication mistakes each year. While many medication errors are thankfully relatively minor issues, others can be serious, even life-threatening. A misfilled prescription is one of the most dangerous types of medication errors. In this article, our Birmingham misfilled prescription lawyer highlights the dangers of improperly filled prescriptions and explains your rights and options.
A Misfilled Prescription Puts a Patient in Harm’s Way (Dangerous Issue)
There is a good reason why prescriptions are required for certain types of medications. These drugs are powerful. They must be taken at the right time, in the right dosage, and for the proper reasons. Beyond that, an assessment must be made of the specific patient to ensure that a prescription drug works well with their other medications and that there are no issues with allergies. Misfilled prescriptions are a big problem. In the worst cases, the consequences could be severe medical complications or even death. Here are some key things that we know from the research:
- Prescription Drug Errors Happen Far too Often: A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that medication errors occur in 5% of medication orders, and one in five medication errors result in harm to patients. In other words, one percent of medication orders actually result in a mistake that harms the patient.
- Misfilled Prescriptions are a Frequent Source of the Problem: Many overall medication errors can be linked directly back to the pharmacy. A study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that the most common types of medication errors reported were incorrect dosage, incorrect drug, and incorrect route of administration.
A patient can be harmed by taking the wrong drug, the wrong dosage of the drug, or a drug in the wrong way. These are, for the most part, fundamentally avoidable errors. Pharmacies should always have comprehensive protocols in place to ensure that prescriptions are properly filled.
What to Do if You Believe a Prescription has Been Improperly Filled
A misfilled prescription is a big deal. It needs to be taken seriously. If you suspect that a prescription has been improperly filled, take proactive measures to ensure that the health, safety, and well-being of you or your loved one is protected. Here are some steps you should take:
- Get Emergency Medical Treatment if Needed: If the suspected prescription error is a potential medical emergency, it is imperative that you (or your loved one) stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention. Prescription errors can be dangerous.
- Double-check the Prescription: First, make sure you are not mistaken about what the prescription drug should look like or how the medication should be taken. Check the label and compare it to the instructions your doctor provided. When in doubt, play it safe.
- Contact your Pharmacist: If you are still unsure, reach out to your pharmacist and ask them to review the prescription. They may be able to spot errors or discrepancies.
- Speak to Your Doctor: With questions about misfilled prescriptions, the doctor generally knows best. Follow up with your doctor immediately. They can answer questions and provide guidance on what to do next.
Know Your Rights: Pharmacists, Pharmacies, and Other Medical Professionals May Be Liable
Pharmacists, pharmacies, and other medical professionals have a legal obligation to provide patients with accurate medications and instructions. If they fail to do so, patients may be entitled to compensation for any harm that results. Here are three things that you must know about misfilled prescription claims in Alabama:
A Misfilled Prescription Claim May Be a Malpractice Claim: If you believe that a pharmacist, pharmacy, or other medical professional has provided you with the wrong medication or incorrect instructions, you may have a malpractice claim. Malpractice claims arise when medical professionals fail to meet the expected standard of care, which includes providing accurate and appropriate medication. We need to know exactly what went wrong and why it went wrong. You may have a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, health care provider, pharmacy, or pharmacy.
- There is a Two-Year Statute of Limitations in Alabama: Under Alabama Code § 6-5-482, you generally have two years from the date of the injury to file a malpractice claim. As there are very limited exceptions to the state’s statute of limitations, you do not want to waste time getting started. Medical malpractice insurance companies are proactive in building their defense strategy. Contact a Birmingham, AL, pharmacy error lawyer right away.
- Victims and Families Can Seek Compensation for Economic and Intangible Damages: if you or a loved one has suffered harm due to a misfilled prescription, you may be entitled to compensation for economic and intangible damages. Economic damages include medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Intangible damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. An attorney can help you determine the value of your case and what you need to do to get justice and compensation.
Medical malpractice claims—whether brought against a doctor or hospital or a pharmacist or pharmacy—are deeply complex legal cases. You and your family do not have to figure out everything on your own. The right professional representation can make all of the difference. Be sure to seek legal guidance from an experienced misfilled prescription lawyer in Alabama.
Contact Our Alabama Pharmacy Error Attorney for Immediate Help With Your Case
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Alabama misfilled prescription lawyers are skilled, experienced, and justice-first advocates for victims and families. If you or your family member suffered harm due to an improperly filled prescription drug or another type of medication error, we can help. Give us a call at 205-896-6410 or connect with us online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. With a law office in Birmingham, we handle pharmacy error claims throughout the surrounding region.