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. But what happens if the pharmacy dispenses the wrong medication, which causes detrimental effects to our health? A pharmacist has a duty of care towards those using their services, and if pharmacists are negligent and dispense the wrong medication, 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 for compensation. This guide focuses on what to do if a pharmacy gives wrong medication in the UK, and how you could go about launching a claim for compensation if this has happened to you. If you require further support after reading this guide or would like to begin a 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.
Select A Section
- A Guide To What To Do If Your Pharmacy Gave The Wrong Medication
- What Is A Wrong Medication Compensation Claim?
- What Duty Of Care Can You Expect From A Pharmacist?
- Professional Standards For Pharmacies And Pharmacists
- What Are The Different Types Of Wrong Medication Error?
- What Could Happen If You Are Given The Wrong Medication?
- What To Do If A Pharmacy Has Given You The Wrong Medication
- Calculating Compensation For Harm Caused By The Wrong Medication Being Dispensed
- Special Damages To Reimburse For Financial Costs And Losses
- No Win No Fee Claims For A Pharmacy Giving The Wrong Medication
- How Legal Helpline Could Help You
- Start Your Wrong Medication Claim
- Supporting Information
Whether you have a long-term condition or a short-term illness, you may be given medication to aid your recovery or help manage your condition. Whether you are given a prescription by your GP or a hospital doctor for your medication, a pharmacist would then prepare your medication and dispense it so that you could begin taking it. But what happens if a pharmacy gives you the wrong medication? UK pharmacies can be found on many high streets and in many towns and villages. Many people could rely on their pharmacist to offer them the medication they have been prescribed, but if the pharmacist makes a mistake and the wrong medication is dispensed, then this could cause detrimental effects on someone who may already be suffering with their health.
Within the sections below, we explore the information that you may need to know if you would like to make a claim for having been given the wrong medication by your pharmacy. Information is provided on the types of mistakes that could be made with your prescription, along with details of the pharmacist’s duty of care towards patients that use their services. Also included are details of how to go about getting an assessment of your case to see if you could be eligible to claim, as well as guidance on how to begin a claim with the assistance of a lawyer without having to pay them upfront.
A wrong medication compensation claim could be made because of a variety of mistakes in the process of you being prescribed or dispensed your medication. You may take the wrong medication because:
- Your medication has been mislabelled
- Your pharmacy filled the wrong medication, giving you a completely different medicine
- Your pharmacy gave you the right medication but at the wrong dose
- Your pharmacist mixed up your medication with another patient’s
- Your doctor wrote your prescription incorrectly (wrong dose/wrong medication)
- Your doctor did not check drug interactions with other medication you were already taking
- Your pharmacist gave you a medication you were allergic to, despite having a record of your allergy
These are just a few examples. There could be many different ways in which taking the wrong medication could affect you detrimentally. If it does, and you could prove the detrimental effect on your health was due to being given the wrong medication, then you could be eligible for compensation.
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 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 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.
There are a total of 9 standards that must be met by every professional working in a pharmacy, according to the Standards for Pharmacy Professionals. These include:
- Providing care that is person-centred
- Working in partnerships with others
- Communicating effectively
- Maintaining, developing, and using their skills and professional knowledge
- Using professional judgement
- Behaving in a manner that is professional
- Respecting and maintaining other people’s privacy and confidentiality
- Speaking up when and if they have any concerns, or if something goes wrong
- Demonstrating leadership
These standards must be met to ensure that care is effective and safe. Failure to meet these standards could mean that patient safety could be compromised. If you suffer harm because these standards have not been met, you could claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered and any financial implications you’ve experienced.
When Can I Complain About A Pharmacy?
If you have concerns about the standard of care you’re receiving from your pharmacy, you could report your concerns to the GPhC. Examples of reportable concerns could include:
- Serious cases of inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour
- Dispensing mistakes
- Working while they are under the influence of drugs or drink
- Not being able to practice safely because of a health condition
- Practising while they are unregistered
If a pharmacy gives you the wrong medication, then you could report your concerns here.
There are different kinds of medication error that you could suffer harm from. These could include:
The wrong dosage of medication was dispensed to a patient – If the dose is too small, it could mean their condition is not treated effectively which could lead the patient to suffer harm. If the dose is too high, then this could mean they suffer symptoms of an overdose. In extreme cases, this could be fatal.
The medication may have been mislabelled – this could mean that you take too many tablets at one time, or that the medication inside the package is not as described on the outside. The consequences of such a medication error could range in severity, depending on what kind of medication was consumed and how much of it was taken.
A patient could have been given the wrong medication by the pharmacy. This could mean that it causes a reaction or does not treat the illness that the patient is suffering from. The consequences of this could range from minor to severe.
If a pharmacy gave the wrong medication to someone who is taking other prescribed medication, then this could cause a drug interaction, which could cause them to suffer harm.
What happens if you are given the wrong medication 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 a 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 you to suffer 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.
If you’re wondering what to do if a pharmacy gives you the wrong medication in the UK and you notice straight away, then we would advise you not to take it, and let the pharmacy know that they have given you the wrong medication so they could correct their mistake. In order to avoid medication that is different to what was prescribed, it may be wise to:
- Ask the person who is prescribing your medication to write the name and dose of the medication on a separate piece of paper so you know what you should be getting.
- Consider looking up the generic names for the medicines you’re prescribed.
- Take a good look at your prescription to make sure it matches with what you’re expecting to be dispensed.
- Query any deviations from your usual size, shape and colour of medication.
- Advise your pharmacy of any allergies you have so they can have an up to date record.
If you’re wondering what to do if the pharmacy gives you the wrong medication in the UK and you have taken some, we would advise you to contact your doctor as soon as possible so you could get the right treatment and advice, whether you have any symptoms or not. It could also be a good idea to immediately let the pharmacy know of their error. If you are outside of the UK when you realise that you have taken the wrong medication, we would advise you to seek medical attention right away so that you could get the most appropriate advice and/or treatment.
I Was Given The Wrong Medication By The Pharmacy – Could I Make A Claim?
If you could prove that the pharmacy’s error in dispensing your medication caused you harm in some way, then you could be eligible to claim compensation for your suffering as well as for costs that you have incurred because you were given the wrong medication by the pharmacy. However, the fault may not always lie with the pharmacist. Your doctor could be to blame for you being given the wrong medication too – if they have made an error on your prescription. This could be classed as medical negligence and could lead to a claim against the NHS or a private practice.
It would be prudent for us to mention here that there is usually a 3-year personal injury claims time limit on these types of claims, from either the date of discovery or the date of the negligence. While exceptions could apply in some cases, in most cases, the 3-year limit applies.
If you have found yourself suffering harm from being given the wrong medication, it could be wise to seek advice on whether you could be eligible to claim compensation. Clinical negligence cases could be complicated, as you would be required to prove that the negligence from the pharmacist caused you to suffer harm that you would not have suffered if you hadn’t received the wrong medication. Utilising the services of an experienced lawyer could help make the process a little easier for you.
If you’re wondering how much compensation you could receive if the pharmacy gives you the wrong medication and you are harmed because of this, compensation amounts could vary. Wrong medication cases could vary in severity, and your case would need to be assessed by an independent medical expert in order for your claim to be valued. To give you some idea of the compensation that could be achieved if you are given medication that is different from what you were prescribed, we have provided you with a table of guideline payout amounts. These figures are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, and we believe they offer a good alternative to a personal injury claims calculator.
|Severe Toxicosis||£36,060 to £49,270||Cases in this bracket could cause serious levels of pain and could also cause fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. Patients could require admission to hospital and may have to stay in hospital for some time. The patient could go on to develop IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). This type of injury could have a significant effect on their ability to perform their usual work.|
|Short-lived poisoning||£8,950 to £18,020||Cases in this bracket would cause diarrhoea and vomiting where symptoms would begin to lessen after a period of around two to four weeks. However, some ongoing disturbances with food enjoyment, sex life and uncomfortable bowel function could remain a problem.|
|Poisoning||£3,710 to £8,950||Cases in this bracket could include poisoning that causes serious discomfort in terms of stomach cramps and an alteration of the bowel function as well as some fatigue. The patient may have to stay in hospital for a number of days. Symptoms may last for a few weeks; however, full recovery could happen within a year or two.|
|Poisoning||£860 to £3,710||Varying degrees of pain, diarrhoea and cramps that could continue for many days or weeks and can be disabling.|
|Kidney damage||Up to £60,050||Some cases in this bracket may cause claimants to have a high risk of developing a future urine infection or complete loss of natural kidney function over time. Cases like these could bring a substantial level of medical expenses.|
|Bowel damage||£41,850 to £65,440||Severe abdominal injury which causes impairment of function. This may restrict the patient’s ability to perform their usual work and could affect what they could eat.|
If you can’t see your condition above, then please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team would be happy to go over approximate compensation payouts for other specified conditions with you.
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 costs – 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.
Claiming compensation for the harm you’ve suffered from receiving the wrong medication from a pharmacy could be made simpler if you seek assistance from a lawyer. A lawyer could help complete all the paperwork needed to prove your claim and could fight for compensation from the pharmacy that has given you the wrong medication. They could also assess whether any offer of compensation you receive would be an appropriate amount, or whether they could help you fight for more.
Retaining the services of a lawyer doesn’t mean that you would have to pay them upfront. Choosing to work with a No Win No Fee solicitor means that you would pay them at the end of your claim, not the beginning, and their payment would be taken as a percentage of your compensation settlement. The ‘success fee’ percentage would be agreed in advance and documented within a Conditional Fee Agreement that you would sign before your solicitor starts work on your claim. If the solicitor cannot manage to achieve a compensation settlement for you, but your claim was valid, then you would not have to pay them the success fee.
If you’re looking for advice and support after your pharmacy dispensed the wrong medication, then Legal Helpline could help you. With years of experience helping claimants begin claims for a variety of reasons, we know this could be a very stressful time, and we aim to make the process of starting a claim as simple as possible.
If you call our specially trained advisors, we will first take some details from you about your situation. We’ll offer an honest assessment of your eligibility to claim and answer any questions you might have. If we believe you could have a claim, then we could offer to connect you with a solicitor to start the process. All of the solicitors we could connect you with work on a No Win No Fee basis, so you wouldn’t need to pay anything upfront to begin your claim.
At Legal Helpline, we’d be happy to help you if you have experienced harm because your pharmacy has given you the wrong medication. 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.
Hospital Negligence Leading to A Death – This information may be of interest to you if you are claiming for a loved one who has lost their life due to negligence.
Injured In A Pharmacy? – This guide covers accidents in public places, which could include pharmacies.
Work Accident In A Pharmacy – If you have been injured at work in a pharmacy, then this guide might be helpful to you.
Raising Concerns About A Pharmacy – If you have serious concerns about the service you have received at your pharmacy, this page could provide useful information.
Preventing Medication Errors – Information on the government’s launch of a system to prevent medication errors can be found here.
Pharmacy Standards – The pharmacy standards of care can be found here.
Guide by JS