Pharmacy Prescription Error Medical Negligence Claims

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 22nd May 2023. If you have suffered an illness or injury as the result of a pharmacy prescription error then you may be eligible to claim compensation. Advice.co.uk can help you achieve the compensation that you may be entitled to following your ordeal. Pharmacists and doctors owe a duty of care to their patients and if your healthcare professional has failed in this duty then you may be eligible to claim damages. For more information please call us and we will be happy to discuss the details of your case.

Please read on to find out more about how to make a pharmacy prescription error compensation claim.

Select A Section

  1. What Is Pharmacy Medical Negligence?
  2. What Is A Pharmacy Prescription Error?
  3. How Much Can I Claim For A Pharmacy Prescription Error?
  4. How Compensation For Pharmacy Negligence Is Calculated
  5. How To Protect Against Pharmacy Errors And Negligence
  6. Common Causes Of Pharmacy Negligence Or Errors
  7. What Are The Effects Of Taking The Wrong Medication?
  8. How Long Do Pharmacy Medical Negligence Claims Take?
  9. Pharmacy Prescription Error Claims With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  10. Additional Advice

What Is Pharmacy Medical Negligence?

When we visit a doctor or a hospital, we put our faith in professionals to correctly diagnose and treat us. In the same way that a doctor has a duty of care to safeguard our health and prescribe safe medication, a pharmacist also has a duty of care to ensure that the medication is dispensed correctly. This includes supplying us with the correct drug, at the correct dosage with the correct instructions for taking it.

Pharmacy prescription error medical negligence claims guide

Pharmacy prescription error medical negligence claims guide

Many types of drugs are available at different doses. Pharmacists are highly trained professionals whose responsibility it is to ensure that we are taking the correct medicine for our needs. Over 1 billion prescriptions are filled in England annually, that equates to nearly 3 million items each day. With figures as large as that, it comes as no surprise that accidents can happen. Not all mistakes will be life-threatening, they may have no effect whatsoever or give us mild side effects. However, other reactions can be severe. Pharmacy prescription negligence occurs when a mistake is made, the victim suffers due to this and can be attributed to the negligence of the pharmacist.

What Is A Pharmacy Prescription Error?

You may be able to make a pharmaceutical negligence claim if one of the following incidents of pharmacy negligence has occurred:

  • If the pharmacist has read a prescription incorrectly and dispensed the wrong kind of medicine.
  • If a patient has been given the wrong information about how to take the drug.
  • If a pharmacist has not completed the relevant clinical and legal checks prior to dispensing.
  • If a pharmacy has failed to choose an approved stockist to supply medicine.
  • If a patient suffers an overdose due to being given too much medication, or too high a dose.
  • If a pharmacist substitutes the prescribed medication for something different without checking with the patient or the patient’s doctor.
  • If medication is incorrectly labelled.
  • If a pharmacist gives two kinds of medication that have unhealthy interaction.
  • If a medicine is not stored properly then its efficiency can be affected. It is the pharmacist’s responsibility both to store the medicine properly and to advise the patient how best to store the medicine at home.
  • If a pharmacist mistakenly gives one patient a drug intended for somebody else.

It is crucial that anybody with responsibility for prescribing, dispensing or administering drugs follows appropriate policies and procedures in an attempt to avoid errors. If you have been affected by a pharmacy prescription error and have become ill due to this then please talk to advice.co.uk. We will be able to advise you as to whether you may be able to make a pharmacy negligence claim.

How Much Can I Claim For A Pharmacy Prescription Error?

This table is an alternative to a personal injury claims calculator and can give you a good idea of the payout you may be entitled to following a pharmacy prescription error. However, this is no substitute for a conversation with a solicitor who will be able to give you further advice depending on the details of your case. We recommend that you call Advice.co.uk and speak to a claims advisor about the wrong prescription compensation that you may be owed following a pharmacy dispensing error.

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Condition Symptoms Average payout
Severe toxicosis Including acute pain, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and hospital admission. £36,060 to £49,270
Serious but short-lived poisoning Severe but short lived symptoms which are acute for a few weeks but have an impact on quality of life over the next few years £8,950 to £18,020
Moderate poisoning Significant discomfort, cramps, changes in bowel function and fatigue. May be admitted to hospital for a few days and experience symptoms for a few weeks £3,710 to £8,950
Mild poisoning Pain, cramps and diarrhoea for several days or weeks £860 to £3,710

How Compensation For Pharmacy Negligence Is Calculated

Compensation for a pharmacy prescription error is calculated based on the details of your case. The compensation is divided into both general damages and special damages. Here is an overview.

General damages

Pain and suffering

The pain and suffering you experience following a pharmacy negligence case can vary from a mild annoyance right through to a serious life-threatening condition. The seriousness of your condition following the incident will inform how much you will be paid in general damages. A court will also take into account the long-term impact of your injury.

Special damages

Medical expenses

If you are subject to any additional medical expenses as a result of your injury, perhaps due to necessary private treatment or further medication costs then these can be covered under the heading of special damages. Keep any documentation to prove the expenses you have paid.

Travel expenses

If you have incurred any out of pocket travel expenses as a result of your injury then you can claim these back as part of your special damages. Be sure to keep receipts.

Loss of earnings

If you are very sick or have been admitted to hospital following the injury caused by incorrect medication then you may be unable to work. You can claim back the money that you would otherwise have earned, as well as any money that you will potentially lose out on in the future as a result of your injury.

Care costs

If you are unable to look after yourself at home due to pharmacy medical negligence and require help around the house then you may be able to claim compensation to help you meet these costs.

How To Protect Against Pharmacy Errors And Negligence

Although we expect to rely on the expertise of doctors and pharmacists when it comes to prescribed medication, there will always be an element of human error and to avoid any personal harm it is always prudent to make a few checks yourself before taking any prescribed medication. Here are some of the things you can do to help protect yourself against any pharmacy prescription errors.

  • Match the medication printed on your prescription against the medicine that has actually been dispensed and check that it is as it should be.
  • Your name should always be printed on any prescribed medication, check that your boxes of medicine are all printed with the correct name both inside and out.
  • If you are unsure or the pharmacist has failed to advise you, check how and when you should take your medication and how to store it.
  • Always ensure that you attend medication reviews with your GP as continuing to take medication without completing relevant checks can have a severe impact on your health. With some medications, regular blood tests may be required to check that your body is responding well to the drugs.
  • Do not assume that the pharmacist is aware of any other drugs you are taking. Advise your pharmacist if you are taking other medication to ensure that there are no negative interactions.

Common Causes Of Pharmacy Negligence Or Errors

Both community and hospital pharmacies are busy places with many prescription requests passing through, all of which require checking and dispensing. There are a number of reasons that dispensing errors by a pharmacy could occur. Commonly these can include:

  • Admin errors by junior pharmacists who are not fully qualified or who lack experience. If this is the cause of your pharmacy prescription error then it is the responsibility of the senior pharmacist as they have a duty to oversee the work of junior pharmacists to ensure that mistakes are not made.
  • There may be an error in dispensing which can be caused by giving a patient a package of someone else’s medication, or by filling a box or bottle with the wrong type of pills. Dispensing assistants complete a number of pharmacy orders but all of these orders should be overseen by a qualified pharmacist.
  • Misunderstanding the prescription is one possible way that a dispensing error can occur. This is less of an issue now that prescriptions are printed rather than handwritten but if a prescription is read incorrectly then this can result in an incorrect prescription being prepared.

If you have been affected as a result of an incorrect prescription then you could be eligible to claim compensation for a prescription error. Speak to Advice.co.uk today to find out how to achieve a settlement for the wrong prescription.

Claims For Prescription Errors – The NHS

The majority of prescriptions in the UK are issued by NHS GPs. The NHS is a huge organisation, responsible for most of the UK’s healthcare and one of the biggest employers in the UK. As a result, it has a strong set of policies and procedures in place in an attempt to ensure that the organisation works like clockwork.

GP prescription error medical negligence

GP prescription error medical negligence

It is possible to make a formal complaint to the NHS but if you are unhappy with the response, or wish to take the case further then you may be eligible to make a compensation claim if you can prove that your injury was caused by NHS negligence.

Claims For Prescription Errors – Private Practices

If you have health insurance or perhaps chose to see an independent clinician, your prescription may have been issued in the private sector. Private clinics are subject to the same quality standards as the NHS. Therefore, if an error has been made then they will be held liable in the same way. Private clinicians are inspected by the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission to ensure that standards are high.

What Are The Effects Of Taking The Wrong Medication?

The effects of taking incorrect medication depends not only on the type of medication you are taking but also on the duration. Many types of medicine, taken for just a short time may produce symptoms such as headaches or sickness. However, over time if a mistake is not realised they can continue to damage your body leading to more serious conditions such as seizures, liver damage, kidney damage and long-term disabilities. If you are allergic to an ingredient in the medication then you may even suffer anaphylactic shock which can be life-threatening.

In addition to the poisoning that you may experience from taking the wrong medication, the condition that you were initially prescribed medication for will not have been treated. Therefore you may also experience an exacerbation of your original symptoms.

How Long Do Pharmacy Medical Negligence Claims Take?

Cases such as these can take different amounts of time to conclude as all cases are different. On average the injury claims time limit for pharmacy negligence is 3 years, meaning that cases have to be pursued in the first three years of when the mistake was realised. In exceptional circumstances, the court may be willing to offer an extension. We can help you with any questions you have about these time limits. Call Advice.co.uk today.

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Accident type Limit
Workplace, road accident, slip or fall, medical 3 years from the actual date of the incident – 3 years from knowledge date (the date you became aware of the injury)
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority 2 years from the actual date of the incident
Children Parent claiming; till the child turns 18. Child has ability to claim up to three years in most cases from their 18th birthday.
Brain injury The time limit for those who lack mental capacity does not apply until they have recovered.

Pharmacy Prescription Error Claims With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

If you are eligible to make a medical negligence claim, then you could look at getting support from a solicitor who has experience with prescription error claims. If you contact our advisors for help and they determine you have a valid case, they could connect you with a solicitor on our panel.

They may offer to represent you under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) in your claim. This is a type of No Win No Fee agreement, and one benefit it provides you is that you won’t be required to pay any upfront or ongoing fees for the work your solicitor does on your claim.

If your claim is unsuccessful, you usually won’t pay your solicitor for their services. A success fee is taken from the compensation awarded to you if your claim is successful. The percentage your solicitor can take as a success fee is capped by the law.

To speak to our advisors today about making a claim for prescription error compensation with a No Win No Fee solicitor on our panel, you can:

Additional Advice

Government News On Prescription Error – This might be interesting to read for those that have experienced errors.

Information Regarding Errors – More information about medication errors.

Statistics On Prescription Error – These are not uncommon, as per this link.

Learn more about medical negligence claims in our guides below: