Slate’s Law Blog

Medication Error: When is a Pharmacist at Fault?

medication error

Patients who sustain serious or life-threatening injuries because of medication mistakes or medication error can struggle to determine who is responsible for their injuries. In many cases, the healthcare provider who prescribed the medication can be liable for harm, but in some situations, a pharmacist may be at fault for the injuries. It will be critical to determine who is at fault for your injuries when you file your medical malpractice lawsuit, or else you could be at risk of losing your case and being denied the damages to which you are entitled. You should never try to assess liability on your own without seeking advice from an experienced New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer. One of the attorneys at our firm can assess your case and help you to understand which party (or parties, depending upon the facts of your case) may be at fault and liable for your harm.

In the meantime, we want to provide you with some more information that can help you to clarify when a pharmacist might be at fault for a medication error.

What is a Medication Error?

Before you turn to questions about fault and liability for a medication error, it is essential to understand what a medication error involves. According to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP), a medication error can be defined like this:

“A medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, healthcare products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packing, and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use.”

As you can see, medication errors are varied and diverse, and they can occur in many different settings. Sometimes medication mistakes happen when a prescribing physician or other healthcare provider makes a mistake by prescribing the wrong medication, the wrong amount of the correct medication, or a drug that has harmful interactions with the medicines the patient is currently taking. Yet medication mistakes can occur in many other types of scenarios, too, including when a medication is dispensed or distributed. In these situations, a pharmacist might be at fault.

Where and When Did the Medication Mistake Happen?

To determine who is liable, it will be important to determine where and when the medication mistake happened. If the error occurred at the pharmacy and at the time the prescription was being filled or the medication was being dispensed, the pharmacist may have been negligent. Common forms of pharmacist medication errors include but are not limited to:

  • Filling the incorrect medication;
  • Filling the wrong dosage of the correct medication;
  • Providing the patient with incorrect instructions for taking the medication; or
  • Failing to inform the patient about potentially dangerous side effects involving use of the medication.

Contact a Santa Fe Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you believe you may have suffered an injury due to a medication error, our Santa Fe medical malpractice attorneys can help you to determine whether a pharmacist, your physician, or another party can be held accountable for your injuries. Contact Slate Stern Law today to get started on the claims process.