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Your Health, Your Rights: Empowering Patients in Pharmacy Malpractice Cases

When thinking about professional malpractice, most of us assume these are cases against doctors or lawyers. But were you aware that pharmacies and/or pharmacists are often implicated as well? 

Pharmacy malpractice cases are on the rise and it is important that you know how to protect yourself from these types of mistakes, which can be deadly.

Preventing Harm from Pharmacy Errors

Before taking any medication, whether it’s a familiar prescription you’ve been taking for years or a new one, it's essential to inspect the pills provided in the bottle. While seemingly simple, taking the time to double-check your prescription is the best way to prevent ingesting an incorrect medication and the potential resulting harm.

Here’s how to do it:

Check Physical Description

Examine the pill bottle label for a physical description of the drug, such as its color, shape, and size (ex. white oval pill). Ensure it matches the pills in the bottle.

Verify Pill Code

Many pills have a code stamped or printed on them. Match this code with the one listed on the bottle label. If there's any discrepancy, contact your doctor or pharmacy for clarification.

Review Labels

Take the time to read the warning and instruction labels accompanying your medication. Understanding the drugs you're taking is crucial for your safety.

Identifying Pharmacy Error Injuries

Pharmacy errors are more common than many people realize. Ingesting the wrong medication or dosage, whether knowingly or unknowingly, can lead to severe consequences and lifelong injuries. Allergies or adverse reactions to medications can exacerbate health issues when pharmacy errors occur.

On the other hand, many people depend on the medications that they take on a regular basis. In some cases, the absence of a necessary medication can be more detrimental than the medication dispensed in error. For instance, in a recent pharmacy malpractice case, a client experienced withdrawal effects due to the sudden absence of a long-prescribed medication, severely impacting her cognitive abilities.

Adverse reactions to the wrong pharmaceuticals can manifest in various ways, including:

Cardiovascular: Certain medications can disrupt heart function, causing irregular heart rhythms, fluctuations in blood pressure, or chest discomfort.

Allergic Reactions: Some medications may trigger allergies, resulting in skin rashes, itching, swelling, or breathing difficulties.

Gastrointestinal Issues: Medications can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, leading to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.

Central Nervous System Effects: Certain drugs may influence the central nervous system, leading to dizziness, headaches, or changes in mood or behavior.


Victims of pharmacy errors may seek compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Earnings
  • Long-term Care Costs
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress

Both the pharmacy and the responsible pharmacist can be held accountable for pharmacy malpractice.

What Constitutes Grounds for Legal Action Against a Pharmacy?

Pharmacists play a critical role in preventing adverse drug events for patients. Pharmacists know there are "look-alike, sound-alike" drugs and that similarity in medication names continues to be a common factor in dispensing incorrect drug products.

The Texas State Board of Pharmacy Rules specify that pharmacists dispense medications following guidelines commonly known as the “5 rights”:

Right Drug: Ensuring the correct medication is dispensed.

Right Dose: Providing the accurate dosage of the medication.

Right Time: Clearly indicating when or how often the medication should be administered.

Right Route: Clarifying the method of administration (e.g., distinguishing between eye drops and ear drops).

Right Person: Ensuring the medication is intended for the individual named on the prescription.


Failure to adhere to these standards or adequately consult with patients about their medication, dosage, usage instructions, allergies, or interactions with other drugs may warrant legal action.

Steps to Take If You've Experienced a Pharmacy Error

1. Consult Your Doctor: Seek medical advice promptly after discovering an error and adhere to their guidance. Time is of the essence when a pharmacy error takes place. It's important to follow reliable medical advice to prioritize your health. 

2. Preserve Evidence: Take photographs of the pill bottle label and the dispensed medication. Store the medication safely for potential use as evidence.

3. Seek Legal Counsel: Contact an attorney experienced in pharmacy malpractice to explore your legal options.

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If you or someone you know has been affected by pharmacy malpractice, contact us today for a free case consultation.

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