Pharmaceutical errors are no joke. The small pills that are dispensed at your local CVS can help you make it through the day, sure. But if the dosage is changed by just one decimal point, the results can be catastrophic– or even deadly.
While you may not have suffered a fatality due to an error by your pharmacist, you could have suffered a number of other difficulties that may entitle you to compensation.
When patients go to the doctor or fill a prescription at CVS, they expect the very best care. However, between the doctor, the pharmacist, and the technician, it’s simple and common for a pharmacy error to occur.
Like many other big box stores, CVS creates larger profit by cutting corners. This might mean that your pharmacist is overworked. It may even mean that people who aren’t pharmacists are performing tasks which lead to errors.
In fact, at the busiest times of day, a CVS pharmacist might fill 25 prescriptions per hour. This means that at any time, there could be a number of pills that look almost exactly like yours, or a number of people with names very similar to yours.
As a result, anywhere from 1% to 5% of prescriptions dispensed by your pharmacist could contain a mistake.
So, if your pharmacist has given you a medication by error, what can you do?
HOW TO ADDRESS AN ERROR BY YOUR PHARMACIST
If you have taken medication that contains an error by your pharmacist, you should first contact your doctor, your pharmacist, or the emergency room. Your health and safety must come first. If you are noticing any odd side effects, go to the emergency room immediately.
Once you feel that you are safe, begin checking to make sure that you have documented all errors. The bottle of medicine and the prescription containing the error are both important. If your doctor gave you any notes, or your pharmacist gave you any receipts, these are important to keep as well.
Then, you should contact a lawyer. Remember– you have rights. Your pharmacy should apologize, but if you have experienced any issues that you feel impact your quality of life, you should consider suing or filing a claim.
WHEN SHOULD I SUE OR FILE A CLAIM?
You should consider suing or filing a claim if you have experienced any of the following errors:
- Your child received medication of the wrong type or wrong amount
- The dosage of the prescription filled by your pharmacist was too low or too high
- The medication that you received was not yours– you received medication intended for a different patient
- You received incorrect medication– perhaps a similar pill, or pills by a similar name
- If your pharmacist did not give you a consultation on the proper administration of your medication
You should also contact a lawyer if a pharmacist’s error caused you any of the following hardships:
- Pain and suffering– includes injury, vomiting or diarrhea for 24+ hours, and sleeplessness
- Loss of wages from missed work or losing a job
- Loss of income of any other sort
- Receipt of large medical bills
- Suffering large amounts of medical debt
- Permanent injuries or impairments
WHAT IF I LIKE MY PHARMACIST?
Your pharmacist is most likely a good person who seems to have your best interests at heart. However, big box pharmacies don’t necessarily care about your best interests. CVS and other large pharmacies function by doing the bare minimum.
The suffering of one working family won’t have an impact on CVS unless it’s expressed in the one form CVS understands: money.
CVS would rather pay off your claim than have to find and train new pharmacists. In fact, in 2013, CVS paid over 665 thousand dollars in order to improve service in New Jersey pharmacies.
HOW WILL TAKING THE WRONG PRESCRIPTION AFFECT ME?
There are a number of prescription errors, and the consequences can range from innocuous to deadly.
Dosage errors are common, and they’re easy to understand. Since prescriptions are measured by factors of ten, you can easily get under- or over-dosed, simply by moving a decimal point.
If your child’s prescription is for .03 mg, you can see how it might be easy to fill a prescription for 30 mg. The difference is only the placement of a zero– but the consequences could mean a loss of quality of life.
Even if the effects of a pharmacist’s error are not immediate, they may be cumulative. Medication can be taken over a long period of time, and even if you don’t experience immediate side effects, you may suffer as a result of taking incorrect medication or dosages. In fact, you may lose time, wages, or income as a result of the effects of medication over time.
WHAT KIND OF COMPENSATION AM I ENTITLED TO?
Since a pharmacist’s error can cause a number of different issues, you might be awarded compensation in different amounts for different forms of hardship.
Pain and suffering are quite easy to account for. If you experienced nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, or sleeplessness, you can be compensated in order to recognize your suffering.
Medical bills and medical debt are also simple numbers. If you file a claim for medical expenses and debt, any award will be given in order to cover those expenses.
Since medication’s side effects can cause pain and fatigue, you may have had to take time off at work. You may also have lost your job as a result. If this is the case, you can file a claim for lost wages as a result of a pharmacist’s error.
Separate from wages are other forms of income. If you have documentation of any loss of income as a result of incorrect medication, you might file a claim in order to regain some of this income.
If you have incurred any other damages that are separate from these points and are also as a result of your pharmacist’s error, you might be compensated.