If a doctor prescribes a medicine for you, they will have worked out the correct dosage for you, checked you weren’t allergic to any particular drug and checked it didn’t conflict with any other medicine you’re already taking. If a pharmacist then goes on to dispense the wrong prescription, they could be in breach of their duty of care they owe to customers. As a result of the negligence, if you suffer in any way, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Therefore, in this guide, we’re going to look at how medication errors and prescription mistakes may occur along with the effects they may have on a person’s health. We’ll also look at when the pharmacist might be liable for your suffering.
Accident Claims UK are here to help, they can answer any pressing questions that you may have and provide free legal advice. They’ll also assess any claim on a no obligation basis. Furthermore, should your case be strong enough, they could pass your claim to one of our no win no fee solicitors. If you’re in a position to start your claim right away, please call 0800 073 8801 today.
Alternatively, to find out more about suing a pharmacy for the wrong prescription, please continue reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Suing A Pharmacy For A Wrong Prescription
- What Is A Prescription Error?
- Rates Of Pharmacy Errors In The UK
- Why May A Pharmacy Give You The Wrong Prescription?
- My Pharmacy Gave Me The Wrong Type Of Prescription
- I Was Given The Wrong Dosage Of My Prescription
- I Was Given Another Patient’s Prescription
- The Wrong Instructions Or Advice Was Given
- What Duty Of Care Does A Pharmacy Have?
- Calculating Claims For A Wrong Prescription
- Special Damages, Expenses And Financial Losses
- How We Could Help After Being Harmed By A Wrong Prescription
- No Win No Fee Claims For Harm Caused By A Wrong Prescription
- Start Your Claim For Harm Caused By A Wrong Prescription
- Supporting Information
A Guide To Suing A Pharmacy For A Wrong Prescription
In this guide, we’re going to try and answer the question, “can you sue a pharmacy for giving you the wrong prescription?”. Before looking at pharmacy claims, let’s look at the general criteria for suing anybody in the UK. To do so, most solicitors will ask you to show that:
- You were caused to suffer (made ill, injured or lost out financially).
- By somebody who owed you a duty of care.
- The incident which led to your suffering was caused by their negligence.
Something else that needs to be taken into account is the personal injury claims time limit. Usually, this would be a 3-year period starting from the date of the incident. However, this period can be extended in some circumstances. For instance, if you suffered after being given the wrong prescription but your additional suffering wasn’t diagnosed until later (i.e. a doctor spotted the mistake), the 3-years could start from then.
The main purpose of this guide is to explain what types of pharmaceutical errors could lead to a compensation claim. Therefore, we’ll look at how often pharmacy errors occur, what types of mistakes can happen and reasons for those errors. We’ll also consider how much compensation you could be entitled to. Finally, we’ll look at the evidence you could use to support your claim.
When you contact our advisors, they’ll be able to assess your claim for free. They’ll provide advice about any further evidence you need to support your claim. Also, if they pass your claim on to one of our solicitors, they could provide you with a more accurate compensation estimate than we can do in this guide. Please begin your claim as soon as possible though. The more time our solicitors have, the better they can prepare the case for you.
What Is A Prescription Error?
The type of prescription error we’re covering in this guide are the ones where you receive a different medication or a different dosage to the one that was prescribed by a doctor. This could mean you receive the wrong drug or the incorrect strength.
To be eligible to make a claim, the mistake will need to have caused you some form of suffering. This could range from symptoms such as fever or stomach cramps to allergic reactions. In some cases, you could also claim for the fact that your underlying condition was made worse because it wasn’t being treated (due to the wrong drug being dispensed). For patients who are seriously ill, the wrong prescription could be life-threatening.
Rates Of Pharmacy Errors In The UK
While we’re looking specifically at errors by pharmacists in this guide, we’re going to discuss some statistics which cover other types of prescription errors too. The report by Manchester, Sheffield and York universities, estimates that avoidable adverse drug reactions (ADRs) contribute to between 1,700 and 22,300 deaths a year. The report said that 712 estimated deaths a year are a result of avoidable adverse drug reactions (ADRs).
As we suggested earlier, the report’s authors found that 3 in 4 mistakes would not harm the patients at all. The report suggested that the cost to for avoidable ADRs could be in excess of £100 million per year.
Why May A Pharmacy Give You The Wrong Prescription?
There are a number of different reasons why you might receive the wrong prescription from your pharmacist. These include:
- Not checking with the doctor.
It could be possible to receive the wrong medication, dosage or instructions because the prescription wasn’t clear. In these cases, the pharmacist should clarify with the doctor. This may not happen due to time constraints or the doctor being too busy. Whatever the reason, this lack of communication could make the pharmacist liable for any suffering.
- Lack of quality control.
The pharmacist is the person who owes you a duty of care. It’s their job to ensure you receive the correct medication as per the prescription. Even though they have staff to dispense the medication, it’s their responsibility to ensure it’s correct. If they don’t have quality control systems in place, you could end up being given the wrong medication.
- Cost cutting.
Whether a pharmacy is independent or part of a larger chain, profit is always important. To increase profit, cuts may need to be made including staff cuts. If that leaves the remaining staff under pressure to work harder, mistakes could happen leading to incorrect drugs or dosages being dispensed.
My Pharmacy Gave Me The Wrong Type Of Prescription
If you receive the wrong medicine entirely, you could be entitled to seek compensation. That could be the case if:
- The medication caused adverse effects. This could be in the form of an allergic reaction or non-traumatic injuries such as fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
- Your underlying condition became worse because it wasn’t treated. Obviously, the doctor will have prescribed medication to cure your condition. The fact you were given the wrong drug could mean your illness is able to develop and your suffering increase.
I Was Given The Wrong Dosage Of My Prescription
When a doctor works out the dosage or strength of medication, it is done so based on the NHS or manufacturer guidelines. It will take into account the age of the patient as well as their illness and any other contributing factors. If the wrong dosage is dispensed it could mean that:
- Adverse side effects are caused if the dosage is too high.
- The illness isn’t treated properly when the dosage is too low. This could mean that the illness becomes worse or the patient is in more pain.
Making a claim for the suffering caused by the wrong dosage could be possible if it caused any type of suffering. Please call an advisor to explain what happened. They’ll assess your claim for free and explain your options.
I Was Given Another Patient’s Prescription
This type of scenario could happen if you have a very similar name to another patient or simply because of human error that might be caused to time pressures.
The risk here could be huge. Depending on the medication you receive, you could:
- Suffer an adverse drug reaction. Depending on the medication you receive, this could even be fatal.
- Have your existing condition made worse because you didn’t receive the medication you needed.
There’s no excuse for this type of error. The pharmacy should have procedures to check they’re giving the right medication to the right patient. For instance, they should ask you to confirm your name and postcode when handing over the medication. Therefore, if you’ve suffered because you were given somebody else’s medication, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
The Wrong Instructions Or Advice Was Given
When you receive medication from a pharmacist, it should be clearly labelled as to what it is and how it should be used. Having the wrong information on a label could have dramatic consequences. For instance, if you were supposed to take the medication, 3 times per day, but the label said, ‘take as required’, you could suffer because you didn’t take enough or you took the medication too often.
As with other types of mistake, labelling and instructions should be checked by the pharmacist. It might be the case that staff create the label based on the GP’s prescription. If they make an error, it should be picked up by the pharmacist when double-checking. If they fail to spot the mistake, then they could be held liable for any suffering caused.
This could happen because the pharmacy is busy. It could also happen if the member of staff is well trusted by the pharmacist and they become too relaxed when checking labelling. Whatever the reason, if you’ve suffered because of poor labelling or advice from a pharmacist, you could potentially go on to claim against them.
What Duty Of Care Does A Pharmacy Have?
All medical professionals have a duty of care towards patient safety. This is true of pharmacists even though they do not treat patients. They have a responsibility for:
- Making sure they supply of medicines is within the law.
- Checking that the quality of medicine is suitable.
- Advising on how to take medicines and any possible reactions.
- Ensure the medicine is correct of the prescription.
- Dispense the correct medication and dosage.
As well as those responsibilities, pharmacists also need to:
- Supervise the preparation of medication before it’s given to patients.
- Listen to patients’ symptoms and provide advice on medications sold in the pharmacy.
- Offer services to patients such as blood pressure tests or cholesterol tests.
If you suffer as a result of a mistake by pharmacy staff, a claim would usually be against the pharmacists or pharmacy they work for themselves rather than an individual staff member. That’s because it’s the pharmacist and pharmacy who has the duty of care towards patients.
Calculating Claims For A Wrong Prescription
We’re now going to look at what compensation you could be awarded for suffering caused by the wrong prescription. The personal injury claims calculator table below shows figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a document used by those involved with personal injury claims. It’s used to try and determine compensation amounts.
|Injury / Illness||Compensation Amount||Comments|
|Non-Traumatic Injury||£36,060 to £49,270||Illnesses that cause adverse side effects including severe toxicosis leading to acute pain, diarrhoea and fever. The patient will spend up to a few weeks in hospital and there will be a significant impact of life enjoyment and the ability to work.|
|Non-Traumatic Injury||£8,950 to £18,020||Illnesses which lead to vomiting and diarrhoea which diminish over 2 to 4 weeks. There could be disturbance to bowel function, enjoyment of food and an impact on sex life over a few years.|
|Non-Traumatic Injury||£3,710 to £8,950||Illnesses which result in significant discomfort, stomach cramps and fatigue. Some days may be spent in hospital, symptoms should last for no moer than a few weeks and complete recovery over a year or two.|
|Non-Traumatic Injury||£860 to £3,710||Illnesses such as cramps, disabling pains and diarrhoea that continue for some weeks.|
It’s important to note that settlements for the wrong prescription in England don’t just rely on the figures provided. There are a number of other elements to a claim which we’ll explain in the next section.
Our solicitors always try to ensure you receive the right level of compensation. To do so, they have to provide relevant information. That’s why they always use reports from independent doctors. These show what suffering was caused, the severity of any injuries, the initial impact and any long-term effects.
Special Damages, Expenses And Financial Losses
When you decide to sue a pharmacy for negligence, your solicitor can claim for general damages and also special damages. The general damages compensation covers pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your suffering. The figures in the previous section’s table showed figures for general damages. Special damages are awarded to compensate any financial losses you’ve incurred as a result of your suffering.
Here are some of the things you could claim for as special damages:
- Lost Earnings.
When you’ve suffered because you’ve been given the wrong medicine, you might need time off work to recover. You may also need to take time off for doctor’s appointments. In these cases, you could claim for any lost income caused by your time away from work. If your suffering affects your long-term ability to work, you could claim for future lost income too.
- Medical Costs.
In most cases, you’ll probably receive remedial treatment on the NHS for free. However, the cost of prescriptions and other medications can soon build up. Therefore, these costs could be included in your claim.
- Travelling Expenses.
Firstly, if you usually drive but are unable to because of your injuries, you could claim for the cost of any alternate travel arrangements. Also, if you have to travel to see the doctor or to visit the hospital for treatment, you could claim for fuel and parking costs.
- Care Costs.
It’s possible that while you’re recovering, you might need to be cared for. If so, you could claim for any associated costs. If you hired a professional carer, then their fees could be claimed back. Whereas, if a member of family cared for you, it might be possible to claim for their time.
How We Could Help After Being Harmed By A Wrong Prescription
Accident Claims UK are specialists in making negligence claims and could help you claim against a pharmacy. Here are some reasons we believe you should choose us to help you:
- We have an excellent reputation in the industry. We’ve also received excellent feedback from previous clients.
- Our team of advisors provide free legal advice and support.
- The claims line is open 7-days a week, 24-hours a day.
- Our team of solicitors have up to 30-years involvement in handling personal injury claims.
- They will keep you updated throughout your claim. Also, they’ll try to act as swiftly as possible to try and prevent the case from dragging on.
- Finally, our solicitors always provide the best case possible to try and ensure you receive a full and fair settlement.
No Win No Fee Claims For Harm Caused By A Wrong Prescription
There is a lot of stress involved with making a personal injury claim after being given the wrong medication. That stress is usually linked to the costs involved. That’s why our solicitors try to reduce the financial risk by working on a no win no fee basis for any claim they handle.
The claims process starts with an assessment of your claim. If the solicitor agrees you have a chance of being compensated, they’ll provide you with a contract. This is called a conditional fee agreement (CFA).
In the CFA, you’ll find information about the success fee you’ll pay if the solicitor wins your case. You’ll also see a statement that confirms no solicitor’s fees need to be paid to your solicitor if the claim is lost.
To save you sending any money to pay the success fee, the solicitor will deduct it from the compensation before it’s sent to you.
Start Your Claim For Harm Caused By A Wrong Prescription
We hope you’ve found this guide about claiming for a pharmacy error helpful. If that’s the case, we hope you’d like Accident Claims UK to help with your pharmacy claim. Here are the ways you can get in touch with our team:
- Call our specialists on 0800 073 8801
- Connect with our advisors by using our live chat facility.
- Ask us to call you back at a convenient time by using our online claims form.
- Finally, you could email us details of your pharmacy negligence claim. The address to use is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can contact us 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Whatever method you use to contact us, we’ll begin by offering a free consultation of your claim. We’ll look at the evidence you have to support your claim against a pharmacy and provide free legal advice about your options. If the case is strong enough, we could introduce you to one of our personal injury solicitors. If they decide to help you sue a pharmacy, it will be on a no win no fee basis.
You have now come to the end of our guide about claiming for suffering caused by the wrong prescription. Below are some more of our guides and also some external links too.
GP Negligence Claims – Explains when you could make personal injury claims for suffering caused by GP negligence.
Medical Negligence Claims – A guide about claiming for the medical malpractice by a range of different medical professionals.
Care Home Negligence Claims – This guide explains when you could use a personal injury lawyer to claim for suffering caused by care home negligence.
Pharmacy Standards – Information from the General Pharmaceutical Council on the latest professional standards for pharmacists.
New Prescription Errors System – A government articles about a new system (from 2018) that was introduced to help prevent costly medication errors.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – The CQC carries out inspections and provides ratings for hospitals and NHS trusts.
Article by BH
Edited by MM.