Medicine is extremely helpful to us, and saves lives. But medicine is still a drug, and often requires a prescription. We call the drugs that we get at the pharmacy “pharmaceuticals,” and the business of creating and selling pharmaceuticals is enormous in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies are some of the wealthiest companies in the country and employ millions of workers. Plus, most popular pharmacies are household names.
Because medicine is still a drug, it can still have terrible effects on the human body if it is not administered properly, in the correct dosage, or it is administered alongside certain other drugs. This can make people extremely sick, cause heart attacks or strokes, create lasting effects, or even kill people.
If you or a loved one has been injured or made sick because of a prescription, you might have a case against the manufacturer of the medicine, the pharmacy that filled the prescription, or the doctor who prescribed it. To explore your options, call Bennett and Heyman, P.A., and talk to someone who cares about your case. Our attorneys have been helping injured clients recover for decades in Baltimore and are always looking to help new clients.
Prescription Injury Types
There are many ways that a prescription can be harmful. Drugs require a prescription because the government has deemed them too dangerous to be put in the hands of untrained people, and requires doctors, pharmacists, and other professionals to have licenses that allow them to handle these chemicals.
Depending on where the mistake is made and the injuries you suffer, there are different parties to hold responsible.
Medical Staff Errors
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals authorized to prescribe medicine should not do so lightly. Before prescribing something, any healthcare professional should run tests and check to ensure that the prescription is necessary and safe. If they fail to ask the proper questions, or run the proper tests, you could face injuries or complications for any of the following reasons:
- A drug that interferes with another drug you take was prescribed
- A drug that you are allergic to was prescribed
- The wrong dosage was prescribed
- An unnecessary drug was prescribed
- A drug was prescribed without explanation of the intended effects, risks, or side effects
If you suffered injury for any of these reasons, there is likely a path to recovery against the doctor or nurse who prescribed the medication.
Doctors and nurses also provide drugs to those who are in the hospital. Often, these patients never get a chance to look at the pill bottle or examine the drugs, because they are often injected with the medication while they are asleep (in the case of surgery) or pushed straight into an IV line. In these situations, there is a serious concern about communication between the patient and the healthcare provider, and a question of whether the proper drugs are being used – or whether the patient is allergic to any of the medications. These hospital mix-ups could be the cause for liability as well.
Pharmacists are trained in recognizing drugs, drug uses, side effects, and safe combinations, among other things. They are experts in their fields, and are held to a high standard of excellence, both professionally and in the courts. When they fail in properly filling a prescription, patients can face injuries, poisoning, or other complications.
The following are all examples of how a pharmacy’s errors may harm a patient:
- The wrong drug was supplied
- A drug that the patient was allergic to was supplied
- A drug was contaminated at the pharmacy
Aside from these situations, really anything bad that occurs while the drug is under the control of the pharmacy can be cause for a lawsuit against the pharmacist and the pharmacy.
Pills are difficult to identify outside of their bottles, but pharmacists are trained in identifying the markings, sorting them properly, storing them properly, and preventing mix-ups. Sometimes, though, they place the wrong pills in the bottle, either mixing them up with another medication entirely, or the same medication in a higher dosage.
Some doctors and hospitals provide their own pharmacy services, or provide patients with samples that would otherwise require a prescription. When a mix-up occurs in that situation, the doctor or hospital could be held accountable as if they were a pharmacy for any of these errors.
These issues can all lead to complications for the patient, and cause severe harm.
Drug Company and Manufacturer Errors
The manufacturers of medication can often be held accountable for the flaws in the drugs. Often, the manufacturer sends medication directly to pharmacists and doctors, and it is not changed at all between when it leaves the factory and when you take it. This means that any errors in the drug’s formula or composition are the direct responsibility of the drug company that manufactured it. This can lead to liability in a few different ways.
Sometimes the actual formula of the drug is wrong or dangerous in some way. This affects all drugs of the same formula. If this is the case, many patients may be harmed by it. Alternatively, the single batch of drugs could be contaminated or improperly created at the factory, creating a risk of illness to patients who used that batch of drugs.
Finally, some drugs interact dangerously with other medication, should not be taken by people with certain conditions, or could have dangerous side effects. In that case, the drug manufacturer is required to put warning labels on drugs that identify these risks and dangers. A failure to warn a patient who gets injured or ill by the drug’s effects can create serious liability for the drug manufacturer. In some cases, this responsibility to warn may be passed on to the doctor who prescribes it.
Talk to An Experienced Prescription Injury Attorney Today
Sometimes, all of these parties are responsible to some extent, and a good injury lawyer will look at all possible routes to recovery and potentially responsible parties.
For any case, though, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as you can. Every case has time limits that may be running out, or might need guidance regarding how to save the drug that injured you as evidence for trial. Do not delay in getting an attorney on your case.
In Baltimore, the attorneys of Bennett and Heyman, P.A., have almost 70 years of combined experience helping injured clients. We would like to hear about your case as well. Come see if we can help you by giving us a call at (410) 429-7856.