Pharmacist Liability in Medication Errors: Legal Defenses and Best Practices

A patient who receives the wrong medication or takes the incorrect dosage can face significant health complications. These effects can lead the patient to incur financial expenses and non-economic losses, both of which can be recovered from those responsible for the medication mistake. 

Pharmacists in California can potentially be responsible for these mistakes and may be required to pay compensation to these patients. If you are a pharmacist and find yourself in this situation, consulting a skilled pharmacist license defense lawyer is critical. 

Your attorney may recommend one or more defenses and best practices to prevent you from facing legal liability and losing your license. 

Defenses to Liability for Pharmacists

Pharmacists are expected to use their education and judgment. This means that pharmacists cannot escape all responsibility for a medication error injury by claiming they were just following the doctor’s prescriptions. 

If a pharmacist believes there is something about the prescription as written that could lead to an injury, they are expected to take steps to mitigate any potential harm. However, pharmacists can point to reasonable actions they took to determine what, if any, danger the patient might experience. 

These steps might include consulting with the prescribing doctor before dispensing the medication or exploring less dangerous alternative medications with the patient’s provider.

When you take reasonable steps to avoid a potential medication error, you will generally be protected against a lawsuit or disciplinary action if a medication error happens to occur.

Tips for Avoiding Medication Errors

It is best to avoid potential medication errors rather than worrying about mounting a successful defense to a lawsuit or disciplinary action. Best practices that can help you reduce the likelihood of these tragic events happening include:

  • Read both the prescription and label for a medication multiple times
  • Confirm the medication you are dispensing to the patient
  • Contact the prescribing doctor to verify a prescription you are unsure of
  • Focus on filling one patient’s prescription at a time
  • Avoid distractions while measuring medication
  • Inform the patient about potential side effects and what to do if they experience any 

You will also want to review the patient’s other medications for potential negative interactions with the current prescription. Additionally, it’s important to remain abreast of current best practices in the industry and participate in professional associations that can inform you of how best to protect patients.

A Pharmacist License Defense Lawyer Protects Your Future

A pharmacist license defense lawyer is a valuable ally in the event a patient of yours is hurt due to a medication you dispensed. 

The experienced team at S J Harris Law knows your reputation and license are on the line. We can review the entire sequence of events that led to the incident, including any preventive or remedial steps you took, and develop an effective strategy to protect your interests and your future.

Contact us to schedule a consultation with a dedicated pharmacist license defense lawyer today.

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When dealing with these complex issues, you need legal representation that has a long track record of success in these types of cases. Scott Harris and the rest of our team at S J Harris Law will be ready to help you pursue any option available that allows you to keep your license and continue working, no matter what industry you are in.


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