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Who Is Liable if I’ve Been Prescribed the Wrong Medication?

medication error liability for wrong prescription

Millions of people rely on prescription medications for their daily health or survival. When something goes wrong and a patient is prescribed the incorrect type of medication or dosage, the consequences can be severe. Medication mistakes can lead to dangerous drug interactions, allergic reactions, overdoses and the failure to treat the patient’s medical condition. If you were recently prescribed the wrong medication in Pennsylvania, discover who you may be able to hold liable (legally responsible) for your losses in a medication error lawsuit.

Why Do Medication Errors Happen?

The liable party in a medication error case depends on the root cause of the mistake. It is necessary to determine why the mistake took place before you can identify the defendant(s). If you are not able to trace your medication mistake back to its source on your own, a lawyer can help. Common reasons behind medication errors in Philadelphia are:

  • Medical misdiagnosis
  • Failure to review a patient’s medical records or history
  • Failure to review what the patient is currently taking to avoid adverse drug interactions
  • Failure to check for potential allergic reactions to a medication
  • Failure to communicate with others in the medical office
  • Patient or chart mix-ups
  • Mixing up the names of different drugs
  • Choosing the wrong dosage for a patient
  • Writing out the prescription illegibly
  • Improperly labeling a prescription drug
  • Wrong medication, wrong dosage or wrong patient

These are all preventable medication errors. If you suffer negative health consequences after being prescribed or given the wrong medication and an investigation finds evidence of one of these examples of medical malpractice, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the at-fault party.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Medication Errors?

Determining who is liable, or financially and legally responsible, for being prescribed the wrong medication can be difficult. These types of cases are complex from a legal and medical standpoint. You may need a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer to carefully investigate your specific situation and determine liability. Liability will depend on who made the mistake, or where something went wrong in the administration of your prescription drug. It could be any of the following parties:

  • Your doctor. Your doctor has a responsibility to carefully review your medical history, understand your medical diagnosis, and prescribe the correct drug and dosage. Prescription mistakes can make your doctor liable for related health consequences.
  • A nurse or caregiver. If you were in a hospital, emergency room, nursing home or another setting where a licensed medical professional was in charge of dispensing your drugs when a mistake occurred (such as a patient mix-up or giving drugs at the wrong time), you can file a lawsuit against the medical facility for the negligence of its staff member.
  • A pharmacy or drugstore. If the medication mistake occurred at the pharmacy or center where you picked up your prescription, this entity could be the liable party. Pharmacists must follow protocols to ensure that they properly fill prescriptions, label medications and dispense drugs to the correct customers.
  • The drug manufacturer. Some prescription mistakes occur at the manufacturing level, such as a problem with how the drug was designed, produced or marketed. If a drug defect has caused an injury, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor.

The liable party is generally the person or entity that fell short of the standards of care when prescribing or administering your prescription medication. Proving medical malpractice or a different type of medication error claim may take assistance from an attorney. A lawyer can help you gather evidence against one or more liable parties, file your claim in Philadelphia, and work to meet your burden of proof. For legal advice about a potential medication error lawsuit in Philadelphia, contact Youman & Caputo for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.