Pharmacists owe consumers a duty of care. They have the responsibility to fill prescriptions and dispense medications accurately and safely. Consumers trust their doctors and pharmacists when it comes to their medication and overall well-being. When a pharmacist acts negligently in Arizona, and a patient is injured because of it, the pharmacist can be held liable for damages.
At Biaggi, Kroese and Campbell, our medical malpractice attorney in Southern Arizona represents patients who were injured due to pharmaceutical errors and helps them receive just and fair compensation for all their losses. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact our office today at 520-618-2515 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the legal options available to you.
What is a Pharmaceutical or Medication Error?
A pharmaceutical or medication error is a failure during the treatment process involving a therapeutic drug that causes, or has the potential to cause, harm to a patient.
The term encompasses mistakes made when producing, prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring a drug. Pharmaceutical errors can occur at any point through the treatment process, including the initial investigation of a medical issue and preventative treatment.
Anyone involved in these processes can make a medication error including:
- Drug manufacturers
Causes of Pharmaceutical Errors in Arizona
Pharmaceutical errors can occur at any stage of the process, from the manufacturing and labeling of a drug to prescribing and dispensing medication to a patient.
Common medication errors include:
- Prescribing, dispensing, or administering the incorrect dose (this is one of the most common pharmaceutical errors)
- Failing to warn a patient of risks associated with a drug
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Mistakes with dispensing the medication, e.g., dispensing an expired medication
- Failing to notice a patient's allergic reaction to a drug
- Incorrectly labeling medication
These errors often occur as a result of:
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Poor medication control practices
- Insufficient training of medical practitioners
- Lack of knowledge (both on the part of the medical practitioner and the patient)
- Issues with drug devices
- Illegible handwriting
- Poor communication that leads to a misunderstanding about the correct drug or dose
- Unavailability of patient information
To minimize the risk of these errors occurring, practitioners usually follow a suite of best practices and safeguards around the prescription and dispensing of medication. However, mistakes can still happen.
What Kind of Injuries are Associated with Pharmaceutical Errors?
Some pharmaceutical errors don't harm the patient, especially where the mistake is caught at an early stage. But the effects of adverse drug events–where a patient is harmed by medication–are wide-ranging and can include:
- Minor adverse reactions, like a temporary rash or mild discomfort
- Birth defects in the case of pharmaceutical errors involving pregnant patients
- Disability, both temporary and permanent
Some medication errors can significantly impact a patient's health, with symptoms or side effects lasting for years. In the most serious cases, a pharmaceutical error can result in death. When this occurs, the family of the deceased may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Can I Sue and Get Compensated for a Pharmaceutical Error in Arizona?
If you're injured because of a pharmaceutical error, you may consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A type of personal injury law, medical malpractice applies when the standard of care provided by a practitioner falls below the expected level and injures a patient.
Medical practitioners, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, owe patients a duty of care. If they breach this duty by committing a medication error that causes harm to a patient, they may be liable for the patient's resulting injuries.
To succeed in a personal injury claim involving a medication error, typically the error must have been preventable—in other words, it wasn't just an adverse reaction to the medication. It must also be the actual and proximate cause of the resulting harm.
You may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages for an injury resulting from a medication error via a personal injury claim.
Economic damages are verifiable monetary losses such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Payment for impairment or disfigurement
Non-economic damages encompass pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of consortium (i.e., loss of physical intimacy).
The level of damages awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving a pharmaceutical error depends on the specific facts of the case. It's also important to note that some jurisdictions place a cap on damages in medical malpractice cases.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Southern Arizona Can Help
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complex and the procedural rules vary between states. If you've been injured as a result of a pharmaceutical error, you should speak to a medical malpractice lawyer.
They can review the facts of your case and explain the process to follow, as well as your prospects of success. They can also help you prepare the strongest case possible to ensure you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Southern Arizona Today
Medication errors can result in significant harm. Get the representation you deserve and contact our office today either by filling out the online form or calling us at 520-618-2515. We will schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and outline possible legal solutions.