If you are undergoing treatment for a short-term illness or long-term medical condition, then you could have to visit the pharmacy to get medication. But what happens if there is a prescription error and you end up with the wrong prescription that, instead of improving your health, makes it worse? Pharmacists, like any medical professional, have a duty of care to provide services that are both safe and effective. If they fail to do so, and the wrong prescription is dispensed, causing you to suffer harm, you may be able to sue a pharmacy for compensation for the harm you’ve suffered and the financial implications of it. If you would like our help and advice on making a claim, you can reach the team at Medical Negligence Assist on 0800 652 3087. However, we have provided a wealth of information on wrong prescription compensation in the sections below, so you may wish to read on to find out more before you call us.
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- A Guide On If You Could Sue A Pharmacy For Giving You The Wrong Prescription
- What Is A Wrong Prescription?
- Standards And Duty Of Care For Pharmacists
- Wrong Prescription And Medication Error Statistics
- How The Dispensing Of The Wrong Prescription Could Happen
- Negligent Advice Or Poor Instructions
- Negligence Leading To The Wrong Dose Of A Prescription Being Dispensed
- The Pharmacist Gave You A Different Person’s Prescription
- Time limits To Claim If A Pharmacy Gave You The Wrong Prescription
- Wrong Prescription Injury Or Illness Compensation Calculator
- No Win No Fee Claims For Illness Caused By The Wrong Prescription
- How Medical Negligence Assist Could Help You
- Contact Us
- Helpful Links
Whether you are suffering from a virus, an infection, or are living with a long-term medical condition, getting the right medication to treat you could make a real difference to your health and well-being. If you have been harmed by being given the wrong prescription by a pharmacy, sometimes making a wrong prescription complaint is not enough. You could be eligible to be compensated for not only the harm you have suffered as a result of a pharmacy error but also because you might have lost out financially because of the harm that you’ve suffered.
This guide has been written to provide people with advice if they have had the wrong prescription given at the pharmacy. The sections below contain a wealth of information about this type of medical negligence, how it could occur and what action you could take if you suffer harm from a prescription error. Also included is information about getting legal assistance with a wrong prescription claim without having to pay upfront for it, and further reading links if you’d like to find out more about making medical negligence claims, or reporting a pharmacy for the errors they have made.
Being given the wrong prescription from the pharmacy could cause serious problems. If a pharmacy makes an error with your prescription, it could mean your condition is not treated, and it could also mean that you suffer side effects from taking the wrong medication. There are various ways in which you could receive the wrong prescription at the pharmacy, and these could include:
- A mislabelling of medication
- Being given someone else’s prescription
- Being given the wrong instructions or advice on taking your medication
- Being given the wrong type of medication by the pharmacy
- Being given the wrong dose of medication
- Being prescribed the wrong medication by your doctor
- Being given medication that interacts with other medication you are already taking
- Being given medication you were allergic to
In some of these situations, it may be that your GP could be held liable for the harm you’ve suffered from being given the wrong prescription. In other cases, you could sue your pharmacy if they have made an error in giving you the incorrect prescription. To find out who could be liable for your claim, why not call us at Medical Negligence Assist. If you give us some details of what has happened to you, we could tell you who you could claim against for this type of negligence.
Your pharmacist has a duty of care to provide an effective and safe service, and they must abide by the Pharmacy Regulations Standards for Pharmacy Professionals. There are 9 standards that they must adhere to, and these include:
- Using their professional judgement effectively
- Working with others in partnerships
- Communicating properly
- Offering person-centred care
- Demonstrating good leadership
- Continuously using, developing and maintaining their professional knowledge
- Behaving professionally
- Respecting/maintaining patient confidentiality and privacy
- Reporting and highlighting any concerns they may have regarding their work
Research conducted by York, Sheffield and Manchester Universities has revealed that around 237 million errors regarding medication occur within the NHS each year. The researchers found that almost three in four are unlikely to result in harm to patients. According to the study, avoidable drug reactions could have caused hundreds of deaths each year too, with 712 deaths directly resulting from avoidable drug interactions. The study also revealed that this type of reaction could have contributed in some way to between 1,700 and 22,303 fatalities a year.
Economically, it was estimated that the impact of medication mistakes could cost the NHS anything from £60 from a simple inhaler medication error to over £6 million for an anaesthetic medication compensation claim. It was thought that the cost to the NHS for avoidable drug reactions could be £98.5 million per year based on the data they studied.
These statistics may give you some idea of how common prescription errors could be, but it could be prudent for us to mention that the statistics covered above do not take into account private prescriptions, as this information is not readily available.
However, this lack of information does not mean you could not make a claim if you have been harmed by being given the wrong prescription by a private pharmacy. For more in-depth advice about this, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
There are many ways in which you could have the wrong prescription dispensed to you. Factors that might affect the effectiveness of your pharmacy’s service could include:
Cost-cutting – Budget cuts could lead to staffing problems. If a pharmacist’s workload is heavy due to budget cuts, then this could affect their ability to operate effectively. Mistakes could be made by staff members that have too much to do, leading to you being issued with the wrong prescription.
Quality control issues – if proper quality control measures are not in place, to check and then re-check that the right medicines are dispensed according to the prescription you give them, this could lead to mistakes with medication.
Lack of doctor/pharmacist communication – A pharmacist should only fill a prescription when they are absolutely certain that they understand the prescription. If a pharmacist misreads and fails to clarify with the doctor something that leads to them to issue the wrong medication, they could be held liable for any harm suffered by the patient because of this.
Part of the role of a pharmacist is to provide instructions to patients seeking information about how to use the medicines they are prescribed. If the instructions given to a patient on how to take their medication are incorrect, then this could cause problems with the medication. For example, if you are given a prescription for antibiotics, this could affect the way your contraception works and could lead to unwanted pregnancy. Your GP and your pharmacist could be required to make you aware of this if you are prescribed medicines that interact with your birth control.
Giving advice to patients seeking information for minor health complaints is also something that comes under the role of a pharmacist. If a pharmacist is negligent in the advice they give a patient, for example not telling a patient to seek the doctor’s advice when it would be appropriate for them to do so, then this could be classed as negligence. Advice on over the counter medicines should also be given according to professional standards. Your pharmacist should ask you if you are taking any medication before they advise you on which over the counter medications could be appropriate. Failure to take this into account when giving advice could lead to an interaction between over the counter medicines and prescription medicines you are already taking.
One type of negligence you could suffer at a pharmacy would be if you were given the wrong dosage of medication. This could lead to a number of different problems.
Too High A Dose – If you have been given too much medicine, you could suffer an overdose, which, depending on the medicine you’ve been prescribed, could be quite serious. For example, if you were given too high a dose of prescription painkillers, you could suffer symptoms including vomiting, disorientation, hallucinations, unconsciousness, and in some extreme cases, taking too high a dose of painkillers could prove fatal.
Too Low A Dose – If you haven’t been given a high enough dose of medicine, this could also have a detrimental effect on your health. For example, if you are given the wrong antibiotic prescription, and it is too low, it could fail to treat an infection, that could get worse and cause complications with your recovery.
If they have any queries with the prescription and their professional judgement leads them to question the dosage, they should highlight this with the doctor before issuing the medication. Not doing so could be classed as negligence.
Unfortunately, mistakes could happen in a busy pharmacy that could mean you end up with a prescription that is not yours, but another customer’s prescription entirely.
There should be procedures in place within a pharmacy that stop this happening. You should be asked to give your name and address, and this should be checked against the package you are given by the pharmacy to make sure it is correct. A failure of the pharmacist to check you have the correct medicine could be seen as a breach of standards, and if you suffer harm because you had the wrong prescription dispensed to you, then you could be eligible for compensation.
If you’re wondering can I return a wrong prescription, then the answer would be yes, and you should do so and report your concerns as soon as possible, to avoid someone else suffering the same fate. If you have concerns as to the safety and effectiveness of your pharmacy, then you could report your concerns here.
If you had the wrong prescription given to you, and you suffered harm because of it, you might be wondering what the personal injury claims time limit could be for your case. In certain wrong prescription cases, you might not discover that you have been taking the wrong medication right away, while in other cases the effects of taking the wrong medication would be immediate. The time limit for most claims of this type is three years from the date of the incident or the date of discovery of harm, which could be later. If you’re not sure what time limit could apply to your case, our team would be glad to help work this out for you.
Below, we offer a quick way to see how much certain injuries that could arise from a prescription error could attract, in terms of compensation. This alternative to a personal injury claims calculator gives you information that has been collected from the Judicial College Guidelines for compensation and gives an approximation of what payouts could be awarded for specific injuries. If you do not see the injury you’ve suffered below, then one quick call to us could help clarify the approximate payout you could receive for your specific injury. Please do remember, however, that this is only a rough guide, as you would be required to visit an independent medic for your medical evidence to be collected. This evidence is what would be used to value your claim.
|Toxicosis (Severe)||£36,060 to £49,270||With serious amounts of pain. Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting could also occur. Hospital admission for some weeks or days might be necessary, and patients could also develop IBS, and other long-term function issues. This could affect their ability to work.|
|Poisoning (short lived)||£8,950 to £18,020||With vomiting and diarrhoea that could lessen in a period of somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks. Food enjoyment, bowel function, and sex life may suffer for some time.|
|Poisoning (less severe)||£3,710 to £8,950||Fatigue, cramps and serious discomfort with the bowels could be experienced by claimants whose cases fall into this bracket. Hospitalisation might be required for a few days, with symptoms lasting for weeks. Would expect recovery to occur within 1-2 years.|
|Poisoning||£860 to £3,710||Days or weeks of cramps, diarrhoea and pain. Could be disabling.|
|Kidney damage||Up to £60,050||Claimants with severe damage leading to total loss of natural function could fall into this bracket. There may be a high level of risk that claimants could also develop future infections. Medical expenses for cases in these brackets could be very high.|
|Bowel damage||£41,850 to £65,440||Injury to the abdomen that leads to function impairment, leading to the claimants ability to work/ food intake to be affected long term.|
On top of the compensation amounts for the injury you’ve suffered, you could also request compensation for financial damages caused by your injury. If you have taken time off work to recover, your wages might be down. Or, you might have incurred medical, travel or care costs. These could be claimed as special damages within a wrong prescription claim.
If you wish to sue a pharmacy for giving you the wrong prescription and the health effects you’ve suffered because of this, then having a personal injury lawyer on your side could be of benefit to you. While you might assume that retaining the services of a medical negligence lawyer would be costly, even before your case begins you might, however, be interested to learn that if you retain the services of a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor, that there would be nothing to pay upfront to start your medical negligence claim. This is because No Win No Fee solicitors work under Conditional Fee Agreements. These are documents that you would sign prior to starting your claim. You would sign to agree to pay the solicitor a percentage of your total compensation settlement as a ‘success fee’. This cannot be over 25% of your total compensation. If the lawyer doesn’t get you any compensation, then this success fee would not be payable. If they do get you a compensation settlement, then the fees would be taken from the payout, with the rest of the compensation being for your benefit.
We believe every person that has been harmed by pharmacy error should have the chance to claim compensation for the harm they have suffered and the financial implications of being given the wrong prescription. We are here to offer guidance and support to people who have found themselves in this position, and all of the advice we could provide you with would be free of charge. If you’re wondering whether we could help you make a medical negligence claim, then the answer would depend on whether our assessment of your case led us to the conclusion that you could be eligible to sue a pharmacy for negligence. If we feel that you could have a claim, we could then put you in touch with a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor, who could then help build a claim on your behalf.
For free advice and support on making a claim for wrong prescription compensation, you can call our team at any time. We’re here to advise claimants on their eligibility to claim, and the next steps they could take to sue a pharmacy for compensation if they are harmed by being given the wrong prescription by a pharmacy. Why not call today on 0800 652 3087, or fill out our contact form here. Alternatively, you could opt to use the Live Chat feature on this page to message one of our advisors directly. However you choose to get in touch, we’ll be delighted to help you.
Making A Claim Against Your GP – If the wrong prescription was given to you by your GP, this guide could offer some assistance on claiming compensation.
Did You Receive The Wrong Prescription Because You Were Misdiagnosed? – If so, this guidance could be useful.
How Much Compensation Could I Claim – Working out how much compensation you could claim? Why not take a look at our guide.
University Of Manchester Research On Medication Errors – Here, you can read more on research conducted by the University of Manchester on medication errors.
Check Whether Your Pharmacy Is Registered – Here, you can check whether your pharmacist is registered.
Written by Jo
Edited by LisM.