I Was Given The Wrong Prescription, Can I Sue My Pharmacy?

    By Daniel Skye. Last Updated On 8th March 2022. The purpose of this guide, is to examine the question, “can you sue if a pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription?” and attempt to provide a suitable answer, based on the facts we have included on this page. The basic answer to this question is yes, you could be able to make a medical negligence claim if you are given the wrong medication and this causes you harm.

    Claims for if your pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription

    Claims for if your pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription

    However, there are a great many variables that could affect your claim, and whether you are eligible to make one in the first place. This guide covers many of these issues.

    If you read this guide and still have questions, our team can answer them for you. Give them a call on 0161 696 9685. An advisor will answer your questions, and also advise you on how best to proceed with your claim. You can also contact us through our website.

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    A Guide On Suing A Pharmacy For Giving The Wrong Prescription

    This online guide will look at many of the factors that can influence the answer to the question can you sue a pharmacy for giving you the wrong medication? Although suing a pharmacy for wrong medication is generally viable, there are a great many external considerations to take into account. This guide covers many of them, and how they will affect the ability of a medical negligence solicitor to process a claim for you. We start by giving a general overview of what pharmaceutical errors are, and how you could be eligible to claim if harmed due to a pharmaceutical error. We also look at the duty of care that a pharmacist owes all patients.

    The next part of this guide takes a look at the ways that a pharmaceutical error can cause harm to a patient. This includes a pharmacist dispensing the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of the right medication. We have also included sections that cover a patient being given somebody else’s medication by mistake and a patient that comes to harm due to being given incorrect information about a medication they are taking. We finish up this part of the guide by giving some stats related to pharmaceutical errors.

    The last part of this guide is related to the claims process and financial considerations of making a claim. We have added a table to this page, which shows possible compensation ranges for different levels of illness.

    This table has been created using the UK judicial guidelines, used for valuing a claim if it goes to court for resolution. You will also find a section that lists some of the more commonly awarded kinds of damages that will make up a compensation settlement. In this part of the guide, we also show how using a No Win No Fee accident and injury lawyer, can minimise the financial risks attached to making a claim.

    Our team can provide you with additional information that is pertinent to your own claim, such as the medical negligence claims time limit that will apply. An advisor can go over your claim with you, tell you what your legal options are, answer any questions you have, and give you some free legal advice on how best to proceed. You can contact our team on the number down near the end of the guide.

    What Is A Wrong Prescription Mistake By A Pharmacy?

    Every pharmacist, and every person working in a pharmacy, has a duty of care never to harm a person through medical negligence, in the same way that every medical professional has. Of course, mistakes can be made, and people can be given the wrong medication, the wrong dosage of medication, etc. In order to be eligible to make a pharmacy negligence claim, the following all need to be true:

    • The pharmacist and their staff owed you a duty of care.
    • This duty of care was not met, and this directly or indirectly resulted in you being harmed.
    • Had alternative action been taken, the duty of care would have been met and you would not have been harmed.

    This might seem a little complicated when you try and relate it to your own circumstances. Don’t worry, our team is here to help. Speak to one of our advisors to have your claim evaluated, and find out if it could be valid or not.

    Pharmacists Responsibility And Duty Of Care

    As mentioned in the previous section, a pharmacist and any staff working for them, have a duty of care to never do unnecessary harm to a patient. This is the same duty of care that every medical professional must fulfil. Just because a pharmacist isn’t directly involved in the diagnosis and treatment of a medical condition, does not mean that they cannot be found guilty of medical malpractice.

    A pharmacist is responsible for ensuring that a patient is administered the correct medication, in the correct dose. When a pharmacist makes a mistake, dispensing the wrong medication, failing to provide the right information related to taking the medication or dispensing the wrong dose, this can result in harm to the patient. In such cases, if the patient can prove that the pharmacist made a mistake, then a claim could be possible. If you believe you have been harmed due to a negligent pharmacist, then speak to our team, we could be able to help you get any compensation you are eligible for.

    When The Pharmacy Gives You The Wrong Prescription, What Are Some Possible Reasons?

    Part of the answer to the question, “can I sue a pharmacy for wrong medication?” Is that you may be able to, but you will need to be able to prove that negligence took place and that this caused you harm either directly or indirectly. The onus is on you, the claimant, to prove negligence. In order to be able to do so effectively, it is important to understand some of the causes of pharmaceutical errors, such as:

    • Cost-cutting – when a doctor switches one drug for a cheaper alternative, and the pharmacist makes a mistake with the new prescription.
    • Lack of quality control – a pharmacist is supposed to check all outgoing medication that has been prepared by one of its staff. If this is not done properly, mistakes can slip through.
    • Lack of communication with doctors – if a doctor intends a specific medication to be administered in a certain way, at a certain dose, then the pharmacist needs to know this. A breakdown in communication can lead to mistakes being made.

    These are some of the causes of pharmaceutical negligence, there are, of course, others. If you believe you may have a valid basis for a negligence claim, talk over your situation with one of our advisors.

    Prescription Errors – Examples

    One of the reasons why a medical negligence lawyer could be able to process a claim on behalf of a patient is due to the pharmacist dispensing entirely the wrong medication. There are a number of ways such as mistakes can be made, for example:

    • Changes to a regular prescription – some people visit the same pharmacy week after week, year after year, to collect exactly the same prescription. There is a danger here that if a doctor changes that prescription, the pharmacy staff might not notice, as they are used to preparing the same medication every time, for the same patient.
    • Misprinted prescriptions – when a pharmacist is handed a prescription by a patient, they use this prescription to dispense the correct medication. When a mistake on a prescription takes place, or a misprint during the printing process occurs, this could cause the pharmacist to dispense the wrong medication.
    • Picking errors – a pharmacist keeps a wide range of medication in stock, all stored neatly on shelves. Staff then pick the correct medication to make up a prescription from this stock. A member of the pharmacy staff could make a mistake. For example, reading the name of a medication wrongly. The result could be that the wrong medication is dispensed.

    If you have been given the wrong medication by a pharmacist, and this has had a negative effect on your health, you could be able to make a claim. Call our claims team to find out how we can help you.

    My Pharmacist Dispensed The Wrong Dosage

    Now we move on to answer the question, a pharmacy gave me the wrong dosage can I make a claim? Taking the wrong drug dosage can be harmful, potentially life-threatening.

    Many kinds of medication are manufactured in different doses, but sent to pharmacists in very similar packaging. When a member of staff at a pharmacy is picking medication to make up a prescription, they may inadvertently choose the wrong dosage.

    Because the medication often looks almost identical across the different dosages, the patient may not recognise this mistake, and take the wrong dose. If this situation sounds similar to your own, then you could be able to make a claim. Speak to our team to find out how to proceed.

    My Pharmacist Dispensed Someone Else’s Prescription To Me

    Another reason for people to make medical negligence claims due to pharmaceutical errors is due to being given somebody else’s medication. Some pharmacies are very busy, with hundreds of people dropping off and picking up prescriptions every day.

    There is a danger that the wrong prescription is handed to the wrong person. This is especially true when the patient trusts the pharmacist to be right, and does not check their own prescription when it is handed back. We could help you to make a claim if you have been harmed by taking medication that was intended for somebody else. Call our team to find out how.

    My Pharmacist Failed To Provide My With Advice About My Medication

    Every pharmacist is expected to not only dispends the correct medication at the right dose, but also make sure that the patient understands how the medication should be taken. This is generally done by printing the instructions on the packaging of the medication, and sometimes by informing the patient verbally if any special instructions apply.

    When a patient is given the wrong instructions on how to take their medication, they could end up taking the wrong dose, or taking the medication too frequently, or not frequently enough. In some cases, the pharmacists might have ensured the correct information was included, but a printing error causes it to be illegible or missing entirely.

    Prescriptions are supposed to be checked before being given out, and the pharmacist and its staff should pick up on such mistakes. When they don’t and a patient is harmed, a compensation claim could be possible. We can assist with such claims. Speak to our team to find out how we can help you.

    How Commonly Do Pharmacists Dispense The Wrong Prescription?

    Cases of clinical negligence where a person is given the wrong drug, the wrong dosage, or the wrong instructions are very common in the UK. According to information provided by the University of Manchester, it is estimated that somewhere in the region of 237 million pharmaceutical errors are made in the UK each year. Many of these are trivial and cause no permanent harm. However, some can have catastrophic, even fatal consequences. The same study shows that approximately 700 deaths are caused by pharmacy errors in the UK each year.

    The same information shows that around 71% of all pharmacy errors are made by medical professionals providing primary care. Primary care is the healthcare framework provided by a GP and local high street pharmacies.

    As we can clearly see, pharmaceutical errors are a significant problem. If you were to become the victim of such a mistake, and this caused you some kind of physical harm, then you may have the basis for a compensation claim. If you call our team and explain your situation, an advisor will be happy to tell you how we can be of help in getting your claim underway as soon as possible.

    NHS Medical Negligence Statistics

    If a pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription, then this could be interpreted as medical negligence. If the incident causes your health to be negatively affected, then it’s possible that you could make a claim for a prescription error compensation as a result.

    The NHS Resolution report for 2020/21 shows us how much the NHS spent on costs associated with medical negligence claims made against them. The total came to around £2,209 million. Not all of this figure will have been spent on prescription errors claims. However, it does show us how much medical negligence claims claim can cost the NHS on the whole.

    The graph below shows figures relating to claims against the NHS only. However, you can still claim if your injuries were caused whilst receiving private healthcare.

    Medical negligence statistics graph

    Clinical negligence statistics graph

    Calculating Compensation For Being Given The Wrong Prescription By A Pharmacist

    The table below was created based on the UK judicial guidelines for valuing a claim in court. These figures only apply to claims that are settled within the UK.

    Medical ConditionSeverityInfoPayment
    Illness (non-traumatic)MinorAn illness with fairly mild symptoms, and one that can be treated using over the counter medication. The illness will generally clear up within a week.£860 to £3,710
    Illness (non-traumatic)ModerateAn illness that manifests more serious symptoms, and will require medication prescribed by a GP or other doctor to treat. The illness will clear up within a few weeks at most.£3,710 to £8,950
    Illness (non-traumatic)SeriousAn illness that will result in symptoms that result in quite serious pain and suffering for the patient. Hospitalisation will be required to treat the illness, and it could take many weeks for a full recovery.£8,950 to £18,020
    Illness (non-traumatic)SevereA potentially life-threatening illness that will require immediate hospitalisation for the long-term. There may be a requirement to use invasive or harmful treatment in order to save the patient. The illness will last potentially months, and there may be a permanent effect on the patient’s health.£36,060 to £49,270

    Whilst some law firms may claim to be able to give you an exact valuation for your if a pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription, this is unlikely to be true. Every claim is different, and the value can depend on a number of factors. Getting in touch with us and speaking to our advisors is the best way to gain an understanding of how your settlement could be calculated.

    Special Damages, Loss Of Earnings And Costs Incurred

    When you sue a pharmacy for wrong medication, if your claim is successful, the settlement you receive will be made up of a number of different types of damages. As an example:

    • Special damages (these are to cover financial and other losses):
      • Loss of long-term earning potential due to a reduced ability to work in the future, or possibly not being able to work at all.
      • Loss of income if you had to take time off work and lost out on your income, either in full or partially.
      • Private medical costs if you had to pay for any private treatment the NHS could not provide.
      • The cost of hiring a nurse to take care of you at home.
      • Travel costs if you had to travel to deal with your claim, or to receive treatment.
    • General damages:
      • An impairment or some kind of permanent disability that will lower your life quality.
      • Long-term recovery, possibly requiring painful treatment.
      • Psychological injuries that could include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, new phobias, anxiety, etc.
      • Short term shock and mental trauma.
      • Pain and suffering that occurred before medical treatment was administered.

    If you would like to know what kinds of damages might be applicable based on your own circumstances, then please speak to our team today.

    How To Sue A Pharmacy For Dispensing The Wrong Medication

    Now that we have answered the question, can you sue a pharmacy for dispensing the wrong medication? You need to know how to proceed with a claim. Our three-step process is very easy:

    1. Call our team to have your questions answered.
    2. An advisor will go over your claim with you, and tell you how to proceed.
    3. A lawyer can then process your claim for you.

    These three steps are all that is needed to get the legal help you need.

    No Win No Fee Claims Against A Pharmacy For Giving You The Wrong Prescription

    When you decide to engage a No Win No Fee lawyer to process your claim, you are reducing many of the financial risks of making a claim. The lawyer will only deduct their pre-agreed fee when they have received a compensation payment for you.

    The percentage that they take from your settlement following successful prescription errors claims is capped by law. It cannot legally exceed 25%. Therefore, the majority of your fee is kept intact.

    Your solicitor will not charge any kind of new claims fee, and they won’t charge you a fee while they are processing your claim, no matter how long this takes. If they fail to secure you a compensation settlement, they still won’t charge you anything at all.

    Contact Legal Helpline About Your Claim

    Do you believe you have just reason to make a claim for pharmacy negligence? If you do, then we could be able to help you. If you speak to our team they will be able to answer any questions you have, and an advisor will let you know how best to proceed with a claim. You can contact us on 0161 696 9685.

    Reach out today if you have any questions in the event that a pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription.

    Supporting Information

    These external links might provide you with some useful information:

    Standards For Pharmacists

    UK Government Information On Medication Errors

    UK Government Steps Taken To Reduce Pharmacy Errors

    You could also read these other guides for some useful information:

    How To Claim For Negligence Causing A Death

    A Guide To Cosmetic Surgery Claims

    Work-Related Accident Claims

    We may also be able to assist you with other kinds of claims, including:

    Sexual Abuse Claims

    Compensation For Slip, Trip And Fall Claims

    Paralysis Injury Claims

    Burn Injury Claims

    Child Accident Claims