Making A Claim After Receiving The Wrong Medication From A Pharmacy

By Jo Martinez. Last Updated 31st January 2024. When visiting a pharmacy to pick up a prescription, we should be able to put our trust in the pharmacy to give us the correct medication. You don’t expect to pick up the wrong medication from a pharmacy.

What happens if the pharmacy dispenses the incorrect medication, which causes detrimental effects to our health? A pharmacist, like all medical professionals, has a duty of care towards those using their services, and if pharmacists are negligent and dispense the wrong drug, it could lead to a patient suffering avoidable harm.

If this is the case, and a failure in the pharmacist’s duty of care causes such harm, then the patient could be eligible to make a compensation claim.

This guide focuses on what to do if a pharmacy gives you the wrong prescription in the UK, and how you could go about launching a claim for compensation if this has happened to you with one of the solicitors from our panel. Our panel typically offer their services under a Conditional Fee Agreement. We explain what this means when making a pharmacy negligence claim later on.

If you require further support after reading this guide or would like to make a wrong prescription claim, simply call Legal Helpline on 0161 696 9685. However, we would also advise you to read on to find out more about this type of pharmacy error and how it could affect you.

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What Duty Of Care Can You Expect From A Pharmacist?

A pharmacist is duty-bound to provide a safe and effective standard of care and they must meet the minimum standards of care outlined in the Pharmacy Regulations.

There is a further explanation of these standards in the section below. Your pharmacist would be responsible for:

  • Making sure that the medicines they supply are supplied according to the law.
  • Making sure that medicines they dispense are suitable.
  • Giving advice to patients on how and when to take their medication, as well as answering. questions on potential adverse drug  reactions, and any other questions about their medication.
  • Making sure the medicines they supply are of suitable quality.

In addition to this, pharmacists also must ensure that their premises and the systems they have in place within the pharmacy are fit for the purpose they are intended for. They should also respond to patients’ symptoms and advise on the medicines available for sale in the pharmacy.

A person must be on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register to be able to call themselves a pharmacist.

There is a page that you can view to check whether your pharmacist is registered, and you could also see if there have been any outstanding allegations against their fitness to practice.

If you suffered unnecessarily due to a pharmacist’s negligence, get in touch with our advisory team for free advice about what you could do next. Or, read on to learn more about making a wrong prescription claim.

Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals, including your doctor and pharmacist should ensure your medication is at the correct dosage.

Examples Of How You Could Be Given The Wrong Medication From A Pharmacy

There are many different ways in which a medication error could harm you. However, as we’ve already mentioned, you cannot claim for an error in your prescription alone. In order to claim compensation, you must also be able to prove that the pharmacy breached their duty of care and it caused you harm.

Some examples of the different types of medication errors that could cause you harm include:

  • Overdosing: Prescribing too much of certain medications can have serious side effects and can, in some cases, be fatal. When prescribing medication, the medical professional in charge should ensure that the dosage you are receiving is safe.
  • Underdosing: For example, if you are epileptic and your pharmacy incorrectly provides you with too low of a dosage of an anti-seizure medication, this could cause your seizures to get worse.
  • Allergic reactions: When prescribing medication, the medical professional treating you should check if you have any known allergies to the drug. If you do, and they disregard this or fail to check your records, this could cause an allergic reaction.
  • Wrong medication: In some cases, you could be given the wrong medication altogether. For example, if your repeat prescription is replaced with an entirely new medication, this could cause withdrawal, as well as side-effects from the new drug.

These are just a few different types of prescription errors that could cause you harm. To find out if you could claim compensation, or to learn more about the prescription error claims process, contact our team of advisors today.

Dispensing Medication

Dispensing medication at the wrong dose is considered a pharmacy error.

What Could Happen If You Are Given The Wrong Medication From A Pharmacy?

What happens if you are given the wrong prescription depends on the medication you have been given, the amount you have taken and your medical condition.

While in some cases, the effects of taking the wrong medication could only be minor, in other cases, they could prove to be fatal. Consequences of being given the wrong medication by a pharmacy could include:

  • Allergies – If the pharmacy dispenses the wrong medication to you and you are allergic to it, it could cause an allergic reaction.
  • Side effects –  You could suffer side effects from the medication that you would not have suffered if the right medication had been dispensed.
  • Drug interactions – If the medication you are given interacts with other medication you are taking, this could cause adverse reactions leading to harm.
  • Ineffective treatment – An error with your medication may mean your medical condition goes untreated, which could mean it worsens, or it could mean you suffer for longer than you should have done

Our advisory team are standing by to discuss the exact consequences you suffered due to a medication error. Speak to us today if you suffered unnecessarily due to dispensing errors, the incorrect dose or inappropriate medication. Alternatively, you can read on to find out more about the process of making a wrong prescription claim.

Wrong Medication Given By Pharmacy – Evidence You’ll Need To Claim

If you are eligible to make a medical negligence claim for the harm you have experienced due to the wrong medication being given to you by a pharmacy, you will need to collect evidence that supports your claim.

Some examples of the evidence you could collect to help support your claim include:

  • Prescription form – stating the medication you should have received.
  • Medication box– The box of the medication you were supplied by the pharmacy to help prove that they gave you the wrong medication or the wrong medication dose.
  • Medical records – A copy of your medical records stating the harm you have suffered due to taking the wrong medication. For example, if you suffered an adverse reaction due to a prescription error.
  • Diary – You can journal what symptoms taking the inappropriate medication caused you.

If you work with a solicitor on your claim, they could help you with gathering any evidence that could help support your case.

To see if you could be eligible to make a claim for medical negligence or how the wrong medication could cause you to suffer harm, you can contact our advisors. They can offer more information on how to make a wrong prescription claim.

Medical Professionals

Medical professionals must ensure that you are not given the incorrect prescription.

Wrong Medication Compensation Payouts

You may be wondering how much compensation you could receive from a successful claim if the wrong medication was given to you by a pharmacy and you were harmed as a result. Unfortunately, we cannot provide an average payout for prescription error claims.

This is because all medical negligence claims are valued on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to the specific circumstances of each claim. These can include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • How your injuries will affect your daily life
  • If your injuries have affected your mental health
  • How your injuries have affected your employability

This all applies to the head of your claim known as general damages, which covers the pain and suffering your injuries may have caused.

Legal professionals will often use the 2022 edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them value medical negligence claims such as prescription error claims, as the JCG provides guideline amounts of compensation for various injuries and illnesses.

You can find some examples of these figures in the table below. We’ve also included an example of how compensation could be awarded for serious damage to multiple organs and related expenses in the top row.

IllnessSeverityNotesPotential Compensation
Multiple serious illnesses or injuries and special damagesVery SevereSome settlements may include compensation for multiple types of harm plus incurred expenses such as nursing care and lost income.Up to £1,000,000+
Brain DamageVery SevereHarmed parties will require full time nursing care due to symptoms including a lack of meaningful environmental responses, double incontinence and lack of language function.£282,010 to £403,990
KidneySeriousClaimants in this bracket have suffered either serious permanent damage or have lost both kidneys.£169,400 to £210,400
KidneySignificantIn this bracket, there is a significant risk of total loss of natural kidney function.Up to £63,980
BowelsSeriousThe claimant suffers from faecal urgency and passive incontinence causing embarrassment and distress.In the region of £79,920
Lung DamageModerateThe claimant suffers breathing difficulties that require the fairly frequent use of an inhaler.£31,310 to £54,830
Digestive System Illness From Non-Traumatic InjurySevereClaimants suffer serious acute pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever that requires hospitalisation with symptoms such as incontinence, haemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome having a significant impact on their ability to enjoy life and work.£38,430 to £52,500
Digestive System Illness From Non-Traumatic InjurySeriousIn this bracket, claimants have suffered serious but short-lived vomiting and diarrhoea that has diminished over 2-4 weeks. Some symptoms remain over a few years, including discomfort and bowel disturbance with an impact on sex life and food enjoyment.£9,540 to £19,200
Skin ConditionsVery SeriousThe claimant suffers with cracking and soreness in both hands with some possible psychological consequences that last some years or maybe indefinitely.£13,740 to £19,200

For more information on prescription error claims, contact our team of advisors today.

A clear cup overturned on a table with red and white pills spilling out

Special Damages To Reimburse For Financial Costs And Losses

Special damages relate to the financial costs and any losses you’ve encountered because you were harmed by being given incorrect medication. They could include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses – Costs for medicines or medical treatment you have needed because the pharmacy dispensed the wrong medication could be included as part of your claim.
  • Travel costs – Transport costs for travel related to your claim could also be included.
  • Loss of income – If you took time off work to recover from the harm you suffered and lost out on wages because of this, then these losses could also be claimed for.
  • Care costs – If someone has had to care for you while you have been recovering because of harm you suffered due to a pharmacist’s mistake, the costs for your care could also be included within your claim.

If you would like to find out how much your potential claim for medication errors could be worth, get in touch with our advisory team.

No Win No Fee Claims For A Pharmacy Giving The Wrong Medication

If you are eligible to make a compensation claim for medical negligence after being given the wrong medication from a pharmacy, you may like to have support through the legal proceedings. One of the medical negligence solicitors from our panel could help with your prescription error claim.  Our panel usually offer their legal services on a No Win No Fee basis under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

When you make a claim with the support of a No Win No Fee solicitor, you generally won’t be asked to make upfront or ongoing payments towards your solicitor’s services. Additionally, if you are not awarded compensation following an unsuccessful pharmacy negligence claim, your solicitor will not charge for their services.

However, if your compensation claim for a pharmacy error has a positive outcome, your solicitor will take a success fee from your award. The amount that your solicitor can deduct as this fee is a capped percentage limited by the law.

blue and white pills scattered on a black table

Start Your Wrong Medication Claim

At Legal Helpline, we’d be happy to help you if you have experienced harm because your pharmacy has given you the wrong medicine. Whether you’d like us to assess whether you’d have cause to launch a claim, or you’d just like some advice on what to do if the pharmacy gives you the wrong medication in the UK, we can be reached on 0161 696 9685. Alternatively, you could complete the contact form and one of our advisors will get in touch with you.

Supporting Information

If you have any queries about how to claim following medical errors, such as receiving the wrong medication from a pharmacy, please get in touch.

Medical Negligence Solicitors

One of the medical negligence solicitors from our panel can help with your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.