• Expanding Pharmacist Roles Increase Risk of Pharmacy Malpractice

    Mistakes happen. However, when mistakes happen with medication, there can be dire consequences. There is an estimated average of 7,000 deaths each year in the U.S. due to adverse reactions to medication. On average, each costs around $4,700 in medical costs with medication errors as the issue. While most are not done out of malice, the negligence involved in the errors can be attributed as pharmacy malpractice, even with the most seasoned pharmacists.

    With pharmacist roles expanding into new responsibilities, those serving in the roles give more complete healthcare services including some cognitive services. This means they are gaining more patient responsibility compared to when pharmacists were typically only linked to administering products, thus increasing their liability when medication goes wrong. With such increased exposure, there are new standards in care and practice added to their management of patient care.

    Increase Duty of Care

    Previously, a pharmacist simply had to correctly administer medication prescribed by a doctor. With the addition of blood-pressure screenings, blood-glucose monitoring, flu shots, cholesterol testing, and many other healthcare services, pharmacists are beginning to share the burden of duty of care with physicians. When it comes to pharmacy malpractice, the elements that need to be proven now emulate the same that need to be proven in a medical malpractice suit and include: the pharmacist had a duty of care, that duty of care was breached, the breach led to the harm that occurred, and damages resulted from said harm.

    Damages are defined as compensation for medical expenses, lost wages or earnings, pain and suffering, disability, emotional distress, and similar compensation. In rare cases, there could also be punitive damages, though it is much less likely. Typically, damages address the losses of a patient. A duty of care is established when the patient goes to the pharmacist for care. These professionals are held to a level of care due to the training needed to become a pharmacist such as a professional degree, their licensing through a state board and the specific training to administer drug therapy to the public.

    By going through the necessary education and taking on a role that cares for the public, pharmacists are at a higher duty of care to the public than a cashier that sells ibuprofen. With these new responsibilities, it is important pharmacies express a culture of awareness and vigilance, much like a doctor’s office.

    If you have fallen ill or had an injury due to pharmacy malpractice, contact us today. Our team will work to ensure your right to proper care is protected and work to obtain the compensation you deserve.

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