Prescription error claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

Although a patient has a responsibility to check that they take medication in the manner and dosage prescribed, it is the duty of the pharmacist to accurately dispense prescription medication.

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Doctors have a duty to ensure that the medication and the dosage prescribed is correct and will not interfere with any pre-existing medical conditions.

If a pharmacist, doctor or other medical professional is negligent or otherwise breaches the duty of care they owe to you, and you are injured as a result, you may be able to make a claim for clinical negligence.

Doctor writing prescription

Do I have a prescription error claim?

If you were injured as the result of prescription error in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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How often do prescription errors happen?

According to a 2102 report by the General Medical Council, 1 in 20 prescriptions written in England feature a prescribing or monitoring error - affecting one in eight of all patients. Of the errors, 42% were judged to be minor, 54% moderate and 4% severe.

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What types of prescription errors occur and why?

In the same report by the General Medical Council, it was found that:

  • 30% of prescribing errors involved ?incomplete information on the prescription'
  • 18% of prescribing errors involved dose or strength errors
  • 11% of prescribing errors involved incorrect timing of doses

Other errors that can occur include: being prescribed or given the wrong medication; prolonged use due to failure to check repeat prescriptions; medication being prescribed to which the patient is allergic; a combination of medications being prescribed that are dangerous when taken together.

As already mentioned, human error is the biggest factor in prescription error. However some factors can contribute to these errors.

GPs and pharmacists may not always be given adequate training about safe prescribing. They are also put under considerable time pressure, with constant interruptions and distractions. In addition, problems with computer systems can also lead to the incorrect medication or dosage being selected. But whatever the reason, it does not take away from the suffering of the patient.

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What are the symptoms and side effects?

Patients who have sought compensation for prescription error have presented with a range of symptoms upon taking the incorrect medication. Not only can symptoms of the original condition can worsen, but additional undesirable and painful side effects can occur.

These include dizzy spells, nausea, headaches, muscle fatigue and blurred vision.

In some instances they can lead to hospital admittance and additional medication and treatment.

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Who is responsible for prescription error?

Responsibility lies with the medical practitioner or pharmacist who put the patient at risk.

Your solicitor will be able to assist with identifying who is liable for your injury.

Evidence will be presented in the form of medical records, witness accounts, as well as offending prescriptions and medicine containers. Apportioning blame, and therefore liability, will depend on when and where the error was made.

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No Win, No Fee prescription error claims

No Win, No Fee prescription error injury claims get underway with the injured person agreeing to, with their lawyer, a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as a "CFA",.

The Conditional Fee Agreement defines a contract or "terms and conditions" between you and your solicitor.

The agreement details the service provided by your case handler as well as the "success fee" to be deducted from the compensation award once the injury lawyer wins the case.

You have absolutely no hidden charges when working with a Quittance personal injury solicitor. You can focus on your recovery, with the knowledge that you will never be out of pocket.

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How much compensation can I claim for a prescription error?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our prescription error compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the QLS team

Quittance Legal Services' national network of solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of medical negligence claim and have a wealth of expertise with short-term, serious and life-changing injury claims. Our lawyers are chosen on the basis of their specialist expertise and their track record in recovering compensation.

Meet more of the Quittance team: click here.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Carol Cook Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Lee Raynor Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.

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