Pharmacists, like other skilled professionals, have a duty to exercise a certain level of care to prevent injuries to their patients. Pharmacists may be sued for malpractice if they caused an injury by falling below this level of care.
A pharmacist has specialized training and holds himself or herself out to the general public to be able and qualified to fill prescriptions without error. They are expected to act in a manner consistent with a reasonable person with similar education and training.
A pharmacist must use his or her judgment concerning refills, drug interactions, and the patient’s personal use of a drug. He or she should also have general knowledge about a drug and why the patient’s doctor has prescribed it.
There are several ways in which a pharmacist may be liable for malpractice:
- Dispensing the wrong dose of the drug
- Dispensing the wrong drug entirely
- Overlooking a potential drug interaction
- Failing to exercise proper judgment regarding dosage or duration
- Failing to counsel the patient on side effects and drug interactions
When a pharmacist breaches the standard of care to which they are held, and this breach causes injury, they have committed negligence. Generally, the patient need only show that the wrong drug or dose was dispensed and that the patient was injured as a consequence. However, pharmacists are gaining more professional responsibilities to their patients as they become more involved in the care of patients and are thus susceptible to committing malpractice in many other ways. Liability may also extend to the hospital or facility that employs the pharmacist.
In order to sue a pharmacist for malpractice, you must have been injured by his or her mistake or poor judgment. An attorney that practices pharmacist malpractice can help you evaluate the strength of your case.