Medication Prescription and Dispensing Errors

Once an illness or medical condition is diagnosed, it is crucial that the correct medication is prescribed and dispensed to the patient. Yet each year thousands of patients are mistakenly prescribed or administered the incorrect medication, putting them at unnecessary risk and, in many cases, causing otherwise avoidable harm.

Prescribing errors are made by GPs and hospital doctors and may include the following:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Prescribing medication that the patient is allergic to
  • Prescribing the wrong dosage of medication
  • Prescribing medication that reacts with other medication that the patient is taking
  • Failing to review repeat prescriptions
  • Failing to provide a prescription

Dispensing errors are made by pharmacists and may include the following:

  • Labelling medication incorrectly
  • Handing the wrong medication to a patient
  • Dispensing the wrong dosage of the medication prescribed
  • Incorrectly documenting the dispensed medication

The Pharmacy Journal has reported that dispensing errors by pharmacists account for 15.9% of the 237.4 million medication errors that happen in England each year. The National Reporting and Learning System found that between 2005 and 2010 the most commonly reported errors in community pharmacy in England and Wales were wrong dose/strength (30.3%), wrong medicine (28%), wrong formulation (12%) and wrong quantity (9%). Despite efforts to carefully analyse the causes and working to improve systems for picking and checking, pharmacy dispensing errors are on the rise.

You may be entitled to financial compensation if your GP, doctor or pharmacist has made a medication error and you have suffered harm as a result. The extent of avoidable injury varies and each case must be analysed on its facts. In many cases the ill effect caused by the medication error is short lived, but in some cases the error has serious and even fatal consequences for the patient. The amount of compensation that will be awarded is based on the severity and duration of the injury and the impact that the injury has had on your day to day life.

At Curtis Solicitors our specialist medical negligence solicitors have extensive experience in advising clients who have suffered avoidable harm as a result of a prescription or dispensing error. We will work with you to identify the medication error that has been made, discuss the impact that this has had on you, and provide you with advice on how best to advance your claim in order to secure compensation for the avoidable harm that you have suffered.

If you wish to discuss a potential clinical negligence claim with our specialist solicitors you can email us, use our online enquiry form, or call us for free on 0800 008 7450.