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What Is Pharmacy Malpractice?

As San Diego medical malpractice attorneys, we know that medical mistakes can take many forms. When a pharmacist is negligent, it is often referred to as pharmacy malpractice. Alarmingly, nearly 100,000 people die every year as a result of medication mistakes made by both pharmacists and other health professionals.

Negligence on the part of a pharmacist can arise in a number of situations, including the following:

Compounding Medications

While the need to “compound” medications is greatly reduced thanks to modern medicine, a pharmacist must still mix some drugs, particularly liquid medications. Negligence can arise if the pharmacist uses an incorrect ingredient or combines the ingredients in the wrong amounts. Recent cases of malpractice have also resulted from pharmacies failing to take proper precautions to prevent contamination.

Dispensing Medications

Most cases of pharmacy malpractice involve the patient receiving the wrong drug or an incorrect dose of the right drug. In other cases, the pharmacist or technicians may supply incorrect instructions to the patient regarding how the drug should be administered. All of these mistakes can have serious consequences.

Counseling Patients

Failure to advise or counsel a patient can also be considered pharmacy malpractice. Patients should be advised of any potential interactions with other medications they are taking as well as any potential harmful side effects of the medication prescribed. Failure to recognize that drugs may interact with another drug a patient is taking can be considered pharmacy malpractice.

Supervising Technicians

When picking up your medication at a local pharmacy, you may not encounter an actual pharmacist, unless you request to speak with one. Instead, pharmacies increasingly rely on pharmacy technicians to fill prescriptions. While these technicians are often trained, they do not possess the education and experience of a licensed pharmacist and therefore must be closely supervised.