Pharmacy Errors Resulting in Improperly Filled Prescriptions Can Have Dire Consequences


December 13, 2013

An expectant mother who leavse a doctor's office to get her prescription filled may not consider the possibility that the prenatal vitamin prescription is actually being filled with a powerful Opioid painkiller or other drug that can be harmful to an unborn child. However, pharmaceutical errors involving the wrong drug being provided to customers can have devastating consequences.

Expectant moms are not the only customers that can face serious health consequences if their prescription is filled incorrectly. If someone has a severe allergy to a medication, for example, a pharmacy error can rapidly escalate into a life-threatening medical emergency.

Because of a paucity of reporting requirements involving improperly filled prescription drugs, the scope of the problem is unclear. However, a settlement between CVS® and a consumer affairs agency in another state earlier this year proves that these potential serious pharmacist errors can and do occur. The retail chain drug store settled the claim brought by the agency for $650,000 after evidence emerged that five of the stores in the chain within the state used the wrong medications when filling some prescriptions during the previous year according to an online AP news report.

Some examples of this type of pharmacy mistake that can cause severe harm include:

  • Providing drugs to kids that are contraindicated for children under a certain age or weight
  • Dispensing drugs that are unsafe for a customer because of a known medical condition
  • Giving mothers who are pregnant drugs that are unsafe during pregnancy
  • Switching the drug with one to which the customer has a proven allergy
  • Inadvertently substituting a drug that does not affect driving ability with one that does without a warning of potential drowsiness or diminished safety in operating a motor vehicle

Although the lack of comprehensive reporting requirements makes it difficult to estimate the precise scope of the problem. Data on the number of prescriptions filled serves as a reason to suspect that these mistakes may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pharmacy errors. A 2013 study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings medical journal reported that seventy percent of people in the U.S. take at least one prescription medication with half of those same people taking more than one. Further, a new report from Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency concludes that medication errors within our state are a problem that occurs far too often.

When a pharmacist provides the wrong medication, there are two distinct potential types of harm that might be experienced by the consumer. First, the consumer does not receive the therapeutic benefits of the prescribed drug. If the drug is a powerful antibiotic, for example, the consumer might develop a severe infection or sepsis because a different medication is provided. Further, the medication actually dispensed may have harmful side effects or be unsafe for a particular individual based on age, physical or medical condition, medical history or other factors.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years Experience to Work For You

If you or a loved one has suffered harm because of an improperly filled prescription, our Georgia medical malpractice attorneys have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.