It is estimated that over 100,000 Americans die each year due to adverse reactions to their medication and over ½ a million people are injured. This can be due to a number of factors from accidental overdose, to allergic reactions, to dispensing errors by the pharmacy.
Amazingly, nobody knows how many deaths and serious injuries are the result of dispensing errors by pharmacies. With over 3 billion prescriptions filled in the United States each year, even an error rate as high as 1% would result in more than 30 million errors per year during the prescription fulfillment process. The percentage of pharmacy errors resulting in medically significant injuries or death is estimated to be as high as 5%.
There are no federal laws requiring that pharmacies report prescription errors. Only 4 of 50 states require the reporting of prescription errors. Texas does require that pharmacists report any lawsuits involving prescription errors; however, if no lawsuit is initiated, it is up to the consumer to report the error.
The pharmaceutical industry would have the public believe that the vast majority of these adverse reactions are the result of patients’ failure to properly follow the instructions provided, confusion over the medication’s warning labeling, the patient’s poor reading comprehension.
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Recent studies suggest, however, that errors by pharmacies may be more to blame that the users of the medications. The most common types of pharmacy errors are the result of dispensing the wrong medication, dispensing the wrong dosage, improper or incomplete instructions, dispensing the wrong generic equivalent, the failure to check for interactions among patient medications and the pressure to fill up to 30 or more prescriptions an hour.
Pharmacy errors can result in significant injuries including stroke, kidney failure, hemophilia, physical disfigurement and death. Children are particularly vulnerable to prescription errors because of their undeveloped chemical tolerance and immune systems. When prescribing any medication to a child, the weight and age must be taken into consideration to determine a safe dosage. A child’s body lacks the ability to metabolize and tolerate toxic levels of medication, as an adult might be able to, putting them at a considerably higher risk for prescription errors.
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If you or someone you love suffered from an adverse medical event you believe was due to a pharmacy error, you should act immediately. Pharmacy errors can result in significant injuries requiring significant pain and suffering, mental anguish, extensive medical expenses and oftentimes future medical care. Loncar Lyon Jenkins has been assisting individuals injured by dangerous drugs, medical devices and pharmacy errors since 1999. Contact us immediately at 800-285-HURT or by completing the contact form below for a no-obligation, confidential case evaluation.