Wrong Prescription Becomes Malpractice
Nearly everyone has seen a doctor for a prescription before, whether they’re as fit as a fiddle or they deal with chronic illness. Modern medicine allows doctors to treat terrible health conditions and even cure some diseases and viruses that used to be deadly, but what happens when the medicine makes us worse?
Who’s to Blame?
You may think this one is obvious: the doctor prescribed the medication, so if it makes you sick or leads to a serious injury, it’s the physician’s fault… right? Not quite. When one of your prescriptions has harmed you, it’s important to figure out who, or what, the culprit is.
The three most common sources of prescription errors are:
- prescribing doctors
- dispensing pharmacies
- medicine manufacturers
A judge can hold all three parties responsible for negligence.
A prescription error can mean several things went wrong:
Did your doctor check your medical history when they prescribed something that caused you harm? It might have had known interactions with one of your other medications or conditions.
Another example would be that your doctor prescribes the right medication, but the pharmacy fills the wrong one, whether it’s just an alternate brand or a different formula altogether.
Some pharmaceutical companies have also gotten into trouble with the law for changing a prescription drug’s binding or active ingredients without warning patients.
Sometimes a doctor will prescribe the wrong amount of a drug. Other times, the pharmacy fills the wrong dosage.
If you’re treating a minor condition, this might just mean extra trips to fix the prescription—inconvenient, but not lawsuit material. There can be life-threatening consequences when you’re taking too much of a sleep aid, or not receiving enough antibiotics, though.
While the FDA and other regulatory agencies are there to mitigate danger for consumers, sometimes potential risks don’t arise until well after clinical trials. Or worse, the company knew of these risks and minimized them when seeking FDA approval.
Drugs taken off the market due to major health risks or dangerous side effects can lead to class-action lawsuits, and as a patient who took the drug, you may have a right to take part in it.
How Serious Is It?
To determine whether you have a case involving a wrong prescription, consider the severity of harm. Just like criminal court has harsher punishments for harsher crimes, civil law considers how much pain and suffering occurred because of a defendant.
If you’ve experienced mild side effects, or just don’t like the prescription you’re on, that’s unlikely to be the basis for a lawsuit. However, consider reaching out to a local malpractice law firm if you or a loved one experience serious injury or death following a new prescription.