Medication and Prescription Error Compensation Claims
All of us find ourselves taking prescription medication at some point in our lives, and many of us are permanently dependent on them to manage ongoing health conditions. We put our faith in health care professionals and assume that we are in good hands; that we will get the right medication for our condition.
Most of the time this is what happens – but each year thousands of people are mistakenly prescribed the wrong drug, or suffer devastating, unforeseen side effects in reaction to a drug or medicine. For whatever reason the prescription error or injury occurred, we see many people who are left struggling with the consequences- which can be far reaching and, in some instances, even fatal.
At Sheldon Davidson Solicitors, we don’t think that you should be left to face these consequences alone or unaided. If you have suffered in any way as a result of an error or side effect from a medication you have been prescribed, correctly or incorrectly, you may have grounds to make a claim for compensation. SDS have a team of medical negligence solicitors who specialise in assisting clients who have been injured by a prescription error to claim the recompense they are entitled to. Speak to us today for a no-obligation assessment of your situation; we’re here to help.
Do I have a claim?
Basic errors around the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs can have catastrophic results. Manufacturers of drugs should also be held to account if they produce drugs that are unsuitable or substandard. We see many clients who have suffered as a result of prescription or dispensing errors, and their issues tend to arise when:
- they have been prescribed the wrong medication, or have been mistakenly given the wrong medication at the pharmacy
- they are prescribed the wrong dosage of the correct medication
- they are prescribed multiple medications not suitable to be taken together
- healthcare professionals fail to review long term prescriptions, leading to dependency or other health issues
- unexpected side effects or injury occur in response to a prescribed medication.
None of these circumstances are the fault of the patient, who may have grounds for a claim of medical or clinical negligence. This is not an exhaustive list – but if your situation with a prescription medication has left you suffering, physically or psychologically, you may be able to make a claim.
What am I entitled to?
If you have suffered an injury after taking a prescribed medicine, or a health care professional has made a prescription error, then you may be entitled to make a claim. The amount of recompense that you may be awarded will depend on the extent of the negligence and how your day to day life has been impacted by it. No two clients are the same, so when you get in touch with us, we’ll examine your claim and assess your situation. Compensation for pain, suffering and any loss of amenity, (or general damages) is calculated by taking account of several factors, including:
- the nature of the damage or injury caused
- the length of recovery time needed
- any impact on your life expectancy or long-term health
- pain and suffering caused as a result of the prescription error or injury.
In addition to general damages, it may also be possible to claim for loss of income if you have missed work or lost business as a result of being mis-prescribed. One of our medical negligence experts will be able to guide you with regard to what is reasonable to expect given your particular situation.
When should I claim?
If you are going to make a claim for a prescription error or a medication injury, it’s important to be aware that there is a time limit in force in England and Wales. Broadly speaking, you have three years within which to make a claim, so it’s important that you act as quickly as possible if you have suffered from this type of negligence. With this type of claim however, the law recognises that you may not become aware of the prescription error for quite some time after it has taken place. If you are not sure whether your claim is still valid, get in touch with us and one of our team will be able to advise you.
What are prescription errors?
Receiving incorrect medicines or dosages can lead to severe side effects, serious illness, or even death, and if you have been mis-prescribed you may be entitled to compensation.
Researchers in 2018 found that there are approximately 237 million medication errors each year in the UK through the NHS, and that over 700 deaths per year are caused by avoidable adverse drug reactions (ADRs). However, it is possible that the true number of deaths where ADRs could be a contributing factor could be as high as 22,303 annually.
Health care professionals and pharmacists have a responsibility to ensure that each patient receives the correct drug at the correct dosage. The prescription process is automated to some extent, but there are still instances where human error or technical failure lead to mistakes and errors in between the point of prescription and the patient receiving their medication. There are many examples of how these errors occur.
Either as a result of human error, a technical issue or printing error, when an incorrect dosage is given to a patient, the consequences can be particularly dangerous. Dosages that are too high can lead to accidental overdose, avoidable adverse reactions or side effects. Where the dosage is too low, a patient can find their health condition or illness being prolonged or exacerbated unnecessarily.
One of the most common prescription errors occurs when the wrong type of drug is prescribed to the patient, or where the correct medicine is prescribed, but subsequently dispensed to the wrong patient.
Certain drugs are not designed to be taken alongside others, as they have the potential to interact negatively with each other causing harmful side effects.
Dispensing errors tend to occur at the pharmacy, often due to human or technical error. This can occur to due to the name of the drug being misspelled, or simply the wrong medication being given to the wrong patient. If a patient receives incorrect medication, leading to a worsening of their existing condition, or they suffer an adverse reaction due to taking the wrong medication, they may have grounds for a claim of medical or clinical negligence.
Omission of prescription
The delay or omission of critical medicines can also cause serious, or even fatal harm, particularly with medicines such as antibiotics, anticoagulants and insulin.
Higher risk groups
Young children and patients who suffer from serious allergic reactions to certain medicines are at a greater risk of harm from mis-prescribed medication. Prescription errors made when prescribing medication to children can be particularly serious, as receiving an adult dose of certain drugs can have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental development. Health professionals should always take care to ensure that they are prescribing the correct dosage according the child’s age.
What is a defective drug claim?
The development of drugs, medicines and even supplements is a complicated and lengthy process, as each new product needs to be vigorously tested to ensure its safety and effectiveness before it is approved for sale. However, despite this, there are still some drugs fail to work as they are expected to, and not all side effects are evident at the point of licensing. It is not common for drugs to be withdrawn in the UK after they have been approved for use, but on occasion this has happened, as in the case of the drug thalidomide. The trial process was seriously flawed, and the drug was withdrawn after it was found to cause severe birth defects.
If you've experienced serious, unexpected side effects after taking a drug, or the medicine you’ve been prescribed has not worked due to a manufacturing defect, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Likewise, if you have suffered an adverse effect or injury as a result of participating in a clinical trial we may be able to help you to make a claim – contact one of our medical negligence team for impartial advice with no obligation.
Why choose Sheldon Davidson Solicitors?
If you have been a victim of negligence, we want you to know that you don’t need to suffer alone. Whatever the error or injury you have experienced in relation to pharmaceutical drugs, SDS have knowledge and experience to help. We don’t believe that you should pay for another’s negligence and we will work tirelessly on your behalf to get you the help and recompense that you need.
Our medical negligence experts will assess your case, offering practical advice and support throughout claims process, keeping you informed at every stage. We understand the difference that compensation can make to you, and we’ll work hard to get you what you need to aid you back to recovery. Based in the North West, we have acted on behalf of hundreds of clients nationwide - contact us today for an assessment of your case.