Can I Claim If I Was Prescribed The Wrong Medication?

By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 13th February 2024. This guide will explain what you could do if a doctor prescribed the wrong medication through negligence. If a patient takes the wrong medication, they may experience unwanted symptoms. Or the patient may develop serious health problems, such as organ failure.

Any healthcare professional could make an error. For example, a doctor can prescribe the wrong medication or prescription errors in a pharmacy can happen. If a prescription error has harmed you and it was caused by negligence, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries.

Patient receiving prescribed medication from a doctor

Settlements for the wrong prescription in the UK vary, depending on factors such as the severity of the claimant’s injuries. This guide will explain what happens if you are prescribed the wrong medication. And we will explain how to claim compensation if a medication error harmed you.

To see if you can begin your compensation claim, please call our claims helpline on 0161 696 9685. We can offer you free legal advice and start work on your compensation claim. Or contact us to start your claim online.

Select A Section

  1. Can You Claim Compensation If You Were Prescribed The Wrong Medication?
  2. Who Could Have Prescribed The Wrong Medication And How?
  3. What Evidence Could You Use To Support Your Claim?
  4. How Much Compensation Could You Receive For Being Prescribed The Wrong Medication?
  5. Make A No Win No Fee Medication Error Claim

Can You Claim Compensation If You Were Prescribed The Wrong Medication?

A wrong prescription medication error can happen if a doctor has prescribed the wrong medication to a patient or prescribes the wrong dosage, for example. A pharmacist can make errors when dispensing medication to a patient too.

When a medical professional, including a doctor or a pharmacist, agrees to treat you, they owe you a duty of care. This automatic duty of care means that they must meet a minimum standard when treating you.

Pharmacists in Great Britain are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council. Their main job is to protect and maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of the public by upholding standards in the pharmacy. According to these standards, some of the responsibilities of a pharmacist include:

  • Ensuring medicine quality.
  • Making sure the prescriptions are suitable for the patient.
  • Advising patients about their medications, including how to take them.

However, a doctor is also responsible for upholding a minimum standard of care. For example, by ensuring that they are not giving patients an incorrect prescription.

If you suffer avoidable harm because you were prescribed the wrong medication as a result of a breach of the duty of care, you could be eligible to make a medical negligence claim.

One of the advisors from our team can further discuss these eligibility requirements with you and talk about the harm you suffered when you were given the wrong prescription. Get in touch using the contact details at the top of the page.

A red book with 'medical negligence' written on it, beside a gavel and stethoscope.

How Long Do You Have To Claim For Being Prescribed The Wrong Medication?

Under the Limitation Act 1980, there is a general time limit to making a medical negligence claim. Therefore, the patient should begin their compensation claim within three years of the error. Alternatively, the medical negligence claims time limit begins on the date that you gained knowledge that negligence at least contributed to your injuries.

If the claimant is under 18, they cannot claim compensation for themselves. Subsequently, the child can wait until they are 18 years old to claim. The claims time limit will begin on the day of the child’s 18th birthday. Alternatively, an eligible adult could act as a litigation friend. Therefore, the litigation friend would claim compensation on the child’s behalf.

Blue And White Gel Capsules On A Black Background.

Who Could Have Prescribed The Wrong Medication And How?

GP negligence or other healthcare practitioner negligence can cause a prescription error. Below are examples of the types of prescription errors that can happen.

  • A doctor prescribes the wrong dosage of medication. Therefore the patient could experience an overdose and be poisoned. Or the patient’s dosage may be too low to have the proper effect.
  • A doctor prescribes the wrong type of medication. Therefore the patient can suffer unwanted side effects.
  • On the other hand, the doctor prescribes medication that the patient is allergic to, triggering anaphylaxis.
  • Likewise, a pharmacist could give the medication to the wrong patient. Or a pharmacy may not give enough medicine.
  • Or the doctor prescribes medication that will have an adverse interaction with medication the patient is already taking. An adverse interaction means that the medications will have harmful effects if mixed.

How Often Do Doctors Prescribe The Wrong Medication?

Unfortunately, medical professionals make over 273 million medication errors in England each year. These medication errors cost the NHS over £98 million and over 1,700 lives every year.

What Evidence Could You Use To Support Your Claim?

As part of the prescription error claims process, you will need to collect sufficient evidence. This needs to prove liability and the unnecessary harm you suffered.

Examples of evidence that might be useful for prescription error claims include:

  • Medical records. These can illustrate the harm you suffered as well as any treatment required. They can also show what medication you were initially prescribed.
  • The prescription. If you have a copy of the prescription, this can show either that your doctor prescribed the correct medication and the pharmacist dispensed the incorrect medicine or your doctor made a prescription error.
  • The container the prescription came in and leftover medication. This may also have a label with instructions on how to take the medication. If this label contained incorrect instructions, you could submit this.
  • Witness contact details. If anyone was with you when you were given inappropriate medication or suffering the effects of taking the wrong drug, you could note their contact information and they can provide a statement later on.

One of the advisors from our team could help you start a claim today if you suffered adverse effects from taking an incorrect drug. Get in touch using the details at the top of the page.

A Female Pharmacist Talks To A Man From Behind A Counter.

How Much Compensation Could You Receive For Being Prescribed The Wrong Medication?

If you make a successful claim for a medication error, your compensation could consist of two parts. These are general and special damages.

General damages compensate for the harm you experienced as a result of taking the incorrect medication. When evaluating this part of medical negligence claims, those responsible for assigning value to illnesses and injuries may refer to the compensation guidelines from the Judicial College (JCG).

In our table below, we look at a few figures from the 16th edition of the JCG that could be relevant if you’ve been given the wrong medication. In addition to this, we’ve provided a figure in the top row (not from the JCG) that shows you how compensation could be awarded for multiple serious consequences of taking the wrong medication and special damages. Due to the differences between claims, this table is only for guidance.

Injury And SeverityNotes On This InjurySettlement
Multiple Serious Forms Of Harm With Special DamagesIf you're claiming for multiple serious forms of harm, then your compensation payout may cover all of them as well as relevant special damages, such as loss of earnings.Up to £250,000+
Bladder Injury (B)This person has lost all control and function in their bladder.Up to £140,660
Bladder Injury (C)Bladder control has been seriously impaired resulting in incontinence as well as some degree of pain.£63,980 to £79,930
Bowel Injury (C)Passive incontinence and faecal urgency which causes distress and embarrassment.In the region
of £79,920
Bowel Injury (D)A severe injury which has caused the impairment of bowel functions. This may require a temporary colostomy and could restrict the person's diet.£44,590 to £69,730
Kidney Injury - (B)There is a high risk of developing a UTI in the future or experiencing the loss of natural kidney function.Up to £63,980
Kidney Injury - (C)One of the kidneys is lost and the other kidney is unaffected.£30,770 to £44,880
Impairment Of Taste And Smell (B)Total loss of smell and significant loss of taste£32,900 to £39,170
Impairment Of Taste And Smell (C)Loss of smell (without a significant loss of taste)£24,990 to £32,900

If you’ve been prescribed the wrong medication, you may also be able to recover any expenses related to the medical negligence under special damages. Here are a few examples:

  • The cost of nursing care.
  • Travel expenses to attend medical appointments. For example, taxi fares to dialysis appointments if adverse drug reactions caused kidney damage.
  • Loss of earnings due to taking time off work.

If you would like to include special damages in your prescription error claim, you should save proof of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as receipts and invoices.

If you have any questions about how compensation could be awarded for successful medical negligence claims, please contact a member of our advisory team.

Make A No Win No Fee Medication Error Claim

If you have strong grounds to claim for medical negligence after being prescribed the wrong medication, then you could do so with the help of a solicitor. If you contact our advisors about your case, they could review it, and they may then connect you with one of the experienced medical negligence solicitors on our panel.

Our panel of solicitors can support claims under a type of No Win No Fee agreement that’s called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). One of the benefits of such an agreement is that you won’t have to pay any upfront fees to your solicitor or while your wrong prescription claim is being processed for their services. Also, you won’t need to pay your solicitor for the work they have provided on your claim if it proves unsuccessful.

If you make a successful wrong prescription claim, then your No Win No Fee solicitor usually takes a small percentage of your award. This is commonly referred to as a success fee. There is a legal cap in place that limits the percentage this success fee can be.

Contact our advisors today to ask questions or to get help with making a medical negligence claim with a solicitor from our panel on this basis. To reach our team, you can:

A Solicitor discusses the most common prescription errors with a client.


These guides may be helpful if you consider making a medical negligence claim.

Thank you for reading our guide to what you could do if you were prescribed the wrong medication.