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

By Danielle Graves. Last Updated 16th February 2024.  If a pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription as a result of negligent actions and this causes you harm, then you may be able to claim compensation. In this guide, we will explain when you could claim pharmacy error compensation, and how prescription errors could occur.

Prescription error compensation is calculated on a case-by-case basis, and we will explain how legal professionals value different heads of claim. We will also discuss how evidence can help strengthen your claim, and how prescription errors can occur.

Finally, this guide will touch on No Win No Fee solicitors, and how working with a legal professional can benefit prescription error claims. To learn more, contact our team of advisors today. They can offer more information and a free evaluation of your claim when you get in touch:

a man offering advice on a presciption to an elderly couple

Select A Section:

Can I Sue My Pharmacy For Giving Me The Wrong Prescription?

In order to sue a pharmacist, you must satisfy the eligibility criteria for medical negligence claims. When you seek medical attention, whether from a doctor, nurse or pharmacist, you are automatically owed a duty of care.

This means that to prevent you from suffering any avoidable harm they must provide you with the correct standard of care and treatment. The steps that medical professionals are expected to take can differ between professionals, but all must meet a minimum standard of care.

The General Pharmaceutical Council sets the standards and gives guidance to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacies. As part of these standards, pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that the medicines prescribed are suitable as well as advising other medical professionals about safe and effective medicine use. 

If you suffer harm that could have been avoided because a pharmacist breached their duty of care, you might be eligible to make a pharmacy negligence claim.

If you’d like to find out whether or not you could sue a pharmacy for negligence,  please get in touch with an advisor from our team. They can assess whether you have a valid case for pharmacy errors.

A bottle of pills split on a table.

Evidence You’ll Need To Make A Wrong Medication Claim

If a pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription, you could receive a settlement for the wrong prescription if you could prove you suffered harm due to a breach of duty of care.

The pharmacy giving the wrong medications could occur due to:

  • Pharmacist not checking the medication to ensure it is correct.
  • Not checking the prescription against other medications the patient is taking.

Evidence you could use to support harm caused when the pharmacy gave you the wrong pills could include:

  • Copies of your prescription along with a sample.
  • Other medical records, such as hospital records.
  • Witness contact details, such as a pharmacy technician who saw what happened.

You may wish to consult a No Win No Fee solicitor specialising in medical negligence to discuss other forms of evidence you might have to support your claim.

Call our advisors for free advice about what evidence you could use if the pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription.

Evidence notebook that proves avoidable harm occurred.

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.

A pharmacist checks medication before dispensing.

Prescription Error Claims – How Long Do I Have?

When claiming settlements for a wrong prescription, it’s important to be aware of how long you have to do so. In accordance with the Limitation Act 1980, you generally have 3 years in which to start a claim. This time window can begin from the date your health was affected.

With claims involving factors such as prescription errors, this date can be a difficult one to work out. So, you can use the date you became aware that medical negligence affected your health. This is called the date of knowledge and needs to be supported by evidence such as your medical records.

There are two exceptions to this time limit:

  • If the affected party is under 18 years old
  • Individuals without the mental capacity to claim themselves

In both of these circumstances, the 3-year time limit is suspended. It resumes in the event that the person harmed becomes able to claim themselves through coming of age or becoming mentally capable of doing so. If a claim is to be made while the time limit is suspended, a litigation friend must be appointed to do so on their behalf.

Get in touch today to find out more, including how much compensation you could be owed.

A man holds a pill and wonders if a pharmacy error occurred.

Compensation For Medical Negligence

If you make a successful claim for medical negligence, your prescription error compensation could consist of two parts. These are general and special damages.

General damages compensate you for the harm you have suffered due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care. To help when assigning value to prescription error claims, legal professionals may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) from Judiciary UK. This is a document that lists guideline compensation brackets for different types of harm you could suffer.

In our table below, we look at a few figures from the 16th edition of the JCG. It should be noted that the figure in the top row is not taken from the JCG but included to help illustrate how more than one very serious illness and incurred expenses can be compensated for in a successful pharmacy negligence claim. As every case is different, it does not represent what your settlement could be, should your claim be successful. Therefore, you should only refer to this table as a guide.

InjuryInfoCompensation Bracket
Multiple serious injuries and illnesses and special damagesClaimants could recover compensation for more than one serious illness and the incurred expenses, such as lost wages.Up to £500,000+
Kidney Injury: (a)Causing permanent damage£169,400 to
Kidney Injury: (b)Harming the function of the kidneyUp to £63,980
Bowel Injury: (a)Causing bowel control problemsUp to
Bowel Injury: (b)Loss of bowel functionUp to
Bowel Injury: (c)Passive bowel problemsIn the region
of £79,920
Bowel Injury: (d)Abdominal injury affecting a person's ability to eat£44,590 to
Bladder Injury: (a)Loss of bowel and bladder fucntionUp to
Bladder Injury: (b)Loss of bladder controlUp to
Bladder Injury: (c)Causing bladder pain and control problems£63,980 to
Digestive Illness from Non-traumatic Injury: (i)Toxicosis resulting in vomiting, fever or hospital admission£38,430 to

If you have any questions about how settlements for the wrong prescription in the UK are calculated, speak with one of the advisors from our team. They can also assess how much your wrong medication claim could be worth for free.

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.

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.

A pharmacist checks for errors.

Can I Sue My Pharmacy With A No Win No Fee Solicitor?

Our panel of solicitors have years of experience with medical negligence claims, and could help you with your prescription error claim. Prescription errors can cause significant harm to your well-being and everyday life, and as such, you may be interested in making a claim.

By offering their services through a kind of No Win No Fee contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), a solicitor on our panel can help you with your claim without taking any upfront fees for their work. Similarly, should you choose to work with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel, they won’t take a fee for their services if your claim fails.

If your prescription error claim succeeds, then a success fee will be deducted from your settlement award. Your solicitor takes this as a small, legally-capped percentage, which helps make sure that the larger share of compensation goes to you.

Our advisors are here to help. When you contact our team, they can offer a free evaluation of your claim. Should one of our advisors find your claim valid, they could potentially connect you with a solicitor from our panel. To get started:

A medical negligence lawyer researches your case.

Supporting Information

These external links might provide you with some useful information:

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

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