If you’ve become the victim of a medication mistake, seek medical help immediately. Your health and well-being are most important. Then go to the ISMP website (Institute for Safe Medication Practices) and click on the “report errors” tab. ISMP is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing medication mistakes.
The ISMP collects and analyzes reports of medication dispensing errors and the injuries they cause, which are then reported to the manufacturers and dispensing pharmacies. The ISMP also works with government agencies to help identify medication dispensing errors, their causes, and ways to eliminate future errors.
You can also write an email to the ISMP describing the pharmacy mistake. In your email, include information such as your adverse reaction to the medication, whether or not it was a pharmacy error, both the generic and brand names of the medicine, the dosage prescribed and actually dispensed, the way you discovered the mistake, and any recommendations you may have for preventing future mistakes.
If you’ve been injured by a medication error, you also have the right to a civil action against the pharmacy, and possibly the manufacturer. This is medical malpractice. Even a minor injury like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or other adverse reaction may be actionable. To be entitled to compensation from the pharmacy’s insurance company, you will need to be able to prove several legal elements:
- The pharmacy had a duty of care not to injure you (that’s normally assumed).
- The pharmacy breached their duty of care to you (the breach was the medication mistake – also referred to as “negligence”).
- The pharmacy’s negligence was the direct and immediate cause, to the exclusion of other causes, of your injury.
- As a result of the pharmacy’s negligence, you were injured (nausea, vomiting, hospitalization, stomach pumping, etc.).
- Your injury resulted in compensable damages, including hospital bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages (if you couldn’t work because of the injury), and your pain and suffering.
Hold on to the medication bottle, the package it came in, and your receipt for payment. Try and get the name of the pharmacist and pharmacy tech on duty when your medication was dispensed. If your injuries were minor, such as 12 to 24 hours of pain and discomfort, you can probably handle your own claim.
To do so, locate the corporate headquarters for the pharmacy and send them a certified letter describing the mistake and how it injured you. Enclose copies of the medication label, your receipt, and a description of the reaction you had to the wrong medication. Include copies of your medical bills, emergency room medical records, and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses.
If you missed work, provide a letter from your employer, on company letterhead, describing the days and time you missed work, and the amount of wages you lost as a result. Tell them you expect to be compensated for the losses the pharmacy caused.
If you’re not satisfied with their response, you can file your case in small claims court, which will likely prompt a settlement. To defend themselves, the pharmacy corporation will have to hire an attorney. Often, it’s more economically practical for them to pay you a small amount than pay for an attorney.
Information from Injury Claim Coach
Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal advice. Laws change from time to time, so if you are injured, protect your rights and call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm online.