Can You Sue a Pharmacy for Negligence?
Pharmacy negligence is a huge problem throughout the United States, and South Carolina is not immune. According to recent research, at least 7,000 people die each year due to medication errors. These preventable errors cause adverse reactions or otherwise prevent sick people from getting well.
If you’ve been hurt by pharmacy negligence, or if a loved one died, please contact Surasky Law today. Our Aiken, SC personal injury lawyer can review what facts you know and then carefully decide whether you can sue a pharmacy for negligence. Call us as soon as possible to get started.
What is Pharmacy Negligence?
Pharmacies fill prescriptions signed by a doctor. Pharmacists also offer medical advice to patients and provide instructions for how to take medications safely. These are critical tasks, but errors unfortunately pop up regularly.
At base, negligence is the failure to use due care. A pharmacist must use the care we have come to expect from other professionals in their situation. They must follow the norms that are standard in the pharmacy industry in South Carolina. If they don’t, they have committed pharmacy negligence, which is a type of medical malpractice.
What are Examples of Pharmacy Negligence?
There are many. Pharmacists can injure patients by not fulfilling their duties in a reasonable manner. Here are some examples:
Failing to call a physician to clarify a prescription
Failing to fulfill a prescription
Delaying the fulfillment of a prescription unreasonably
Providing the wrong prescription or wrong dosage to a patient
Failing to check for contraindications with other drugs a patient is taking
Failing to check for allergic reactions
Providing the wrong counseling to patients
Failing to provide necessary instructions or counseling
Neglecting to warn of common side effects
As you can see, a lot can go wrong. We expect pharmacists to provide the right medication with proper instructions and warnings, and to fill a script in a reasonable amount of time. When they fail at this task, patients get sick. Some unfortunately also die.
What Causes Pharmacy Negligence?
There are many reasons. Pharmacy negligence has been in the news recently, with major newspapers publishing stories. They come to differing conclusions about what is driving the wave of prescription medication errors.
One problem is lack of training for pharmacy techs, who do a lot of the work at a pharmacy. If they aren’t properly trained, they can make mistakes without even realizing it. They will probably also repeat mistakes.
Other problems stem from a desire for profits, especially at big chain pharmacies. They might understaff or work their pharmacists too hard. They set unrealistic performance metrics designed to squeeze profits from frazzled staff. It’s easy to make an error in these situations.
Some pharmacists are struggling with burn out, drug addiction, or mental health problems. They shouldn’t be working until they get things sorted out.
How Does Pharmacy Negligence Injure Patients?
Doctors prescribe medications to help patients get well. Any failure to get this medication will delay recovery. Some patients might continue to worsen or possibly even die because they did not get necessary medication in a timely fashion. For example, a doctor might prescribe blood pressure medication after a stroke. If the pharmacy gives you the wrong drug, your blood pressure could remain elevated, and you could suffer a second stroke.
Other medications have adverse reactions with your other meds or cause an allergic reaction. Not only are you failing to get well, you suffer additional harm. Some patients end up in the back of an ambulance because of a negative reaction to a prescription.
Can You Sue a Pharmacy for Negligence?
Possibly. In South Carolina, you’ll need to provide certain facts:
You had a professional relationship with the pharmacy, which meant they owed you a duty of care. This is usually easy to prove if they agreed to fulfill your script.
The pharmacy failed to use reasonable care. Here, we need to show the pharmacy made some careless or reckless mistake.
The failure to use reasonable care injured you. We need to connect your injuries to the pharmacy error.
You suffered damages. Typically, damages are monetary losses suffered because you needed additional medical care, or you couldn’t work. Pain and suffering are also damages.
Most debate centers on the second factor—whether the pharmacy used sufficient care. They might claim they did nothing wrong or that they fulfilled their duty of care.
What Should I Do if I Suspect I Was Hurt by Pharmacy Negligence?
There are certain steps to take. Let’s look at a few:
Hold onto your medication. This is the single most important piece of evidence. Don’t flush the pills down the toilet or return them to the pharmacy. Keep them so your attorney can analyze them. Imagine you throw out your medication then claim the pharmacy gave you the wrong prescription. How would you even prove that if you didn’t have the pills?
Next, you should go to a doctor and explain that you are not getting well. You must make your health a priority. A doctor can give you a new prescription or treat any new problems you are experiencing.
Also try to document the pain you are feeling. This might be difficult, especially if you have a tragic adverse reaction that sends you to the hospital. Nevertheless, record any physical symptoms and emotional distress, perhaps in a journal.
Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me?
Yes. Medical malpractice cases are difficult to bring. South Carolina puts some roadblocks in the way, and you need to meet tight deadlines. Any misstep can send you back to square one. You might also never get the compensation you deserve.
At Surasky Law, we can bring professional negligence claims, including medical malpractice. We work with experts who can identify whether your pharmacy used reasonable care. This expert testimony is essential in most medical negligence cases, and we negotiate effectively with pharmacies and their insurers. If necessary, we might file a lawsuit in court to seek justice on your behalf.
Speak to Surasky Law Today
If you suspect a pharmacy mistake has harmed you, reach out to our legal team today. Our Aiken medical malpractice lawyer is available to take your call.