When you go to the drug store and pick up your prescription, you trust that the pill bottle contains the correct medication in the proper dosage ordered by your doctor. Pharmacists in Florida fill millions of prescriptions each year. Despite bar code scanning and pill imaging technology intended to prevent mistakes, pharmacists are human and still make preventable errors when dispensing prescriptions. They may mislabel the prescription, put the wrong pills in the bottle or dispense too many pills. A pharmacist error can have extremely serious consequences. Pharmacists may be held liable when a consumer suffers a serious injury or dies due to a preventable medication error.
Pharmacy malpractice is a complicated area of Florida law. Pharmacists cannot always be held liable for a medication error or dispensing error. Each drug injury depends on the specific details of how the medication error occurred. Holding a negligent pharmacist accountable for pharmacy malpractice may prevent other consumers from being harmed by a dispensing error.
With more than 50 years of combined legal experience, our medication error lawyers at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC are ready to provide experienced legal representation to hold a negligent pharmacist or pharmacy accountable for your injuries. Please contact us to see how we can assist you in the case.
Responsibility of Pharmacists to Consumers
Pharmacists have a legal duty in Florida to use sound professional judgment and proper care in filling prescriptions for legitimate medical purposes. Pharmacists must use their professional abilities to interpret the prescription order, evaluate whether the medication would cause any adverse interactions with other drugs and provide counseling on the drug use if needed. The failure of a pharmacist to take these steps can cause a patient to suffer a medication overdose or an adverse reaction, leading to serious injuries or fatal injuries.
Pharmacists may be liable for pharmacy malpractice if they dispense the wrong drug, the incorrect dosage or fail to recognize a contraindication with other medicines the patient is taking. In some cases, a pharmacist may make a dispensing error while rushing to fill orders. Medication errors also may be caused by a pharmacist’s inexperience or by a pharmacy assistant who is unlicensed and does not have adequate training.
If you believe that you have been injured by a pharmacy error in North Tampa or Lutz, contact the knowledgeable injury attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC. We can review the details of your injury and determine whether the injury was caused by medical malpractice or pharmacy malpractice. If we believe you have a malpractice claim, we will explain your legal options and offer to handle your case on a contingency fee basis. You will not owe a legal fee unless we obtain compensation for you through an out-of-court settlement or a court award.
Claims Against Pharmacists for Opioid Overdose
Opioids are prescribed to treat chronic pain and acute pain. The use of opioid medications poses serious risk, including the risk of overdose and opioid use disorder. Florida’s governor recently declared the opioid epidemic a state of emergency in Florida. Opioids were responsible for more than 3,900 deaths in Florida in 2015, according to the Office of the Governor. Some counties in Florida have seen a three-fold increase in overdose deaths since the year 2000, according to the Washington Post.
In recent years, courts have expanded the legal responsibilities of pharmacists beyond simply being technically accurate in following the doctor’s prescription order. A pharmacist may be held accountable for failing to recognize that a patient is receiving too many opioid prescriptions, putting the user at risk of an overdose.
Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals issued an interesting ruling pertaining to the responsibility of pharmacists with respect to dispensing opioids such as oxycontin. In 2015, the Florida Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against a pharmacist and pharmacy filed by the estate of a man who died from drug intoxication from the combined use of alprazolam and hydrocodone. The court found that the pharmacy had filled numerous prescriptions close together and should have recognized that the man was receiving too many pills in too short a time. The court found that an ordinarily prudent pharmacist when presented the quantity and frequency of prescriptions would have checked with the prescribing doctor or warned the patient.
If a Doctor Prescribed an Opioid, Isn’t It Safe?
A doctor may prescribe too much medication or fail to recognize that the patient is taking other medications that have harmful interactions when taken along with opioids. A pharmacist may fail to contact a doctor with questions about the dosage of a medication. Opioid medication errors leading to overdoses may be caused by a doctor’s negligence when prescribing the medication or a pharmacist’s error in dispensing the medication. It is part of a pharmacist’s duty to be alert for issues with dosages and adverse reactions with other drugs.
Is a Pharmacist at Fault for Dispensing Too Many Opioids?
Patients rely on doctors and pharmacists to be educated about the drugs they are prescribing and dispensing and to understand how the drug might interact with other drugs the patient is taking. Doctors should also be familiar with the patient’s health history. After an opioid overdose, families often have questions about why a doctor or pharmacy would dispense a large quantity of medication to a patient. In some instances, this practice may be appropriate, and in other cases, it may reflect negligence on the part of the doctor or pharmacist. Every patient’s health considerations are unique. The opioid overdose attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm can review the specific details of an opioid overdose and evaluate whether a health care provider may be held liable for the overdose.
Contact Our Opioid Overdose Lawyer Today
Whether a medication error was caused by a pharmacy, a pharmacist or a pharmacy assistant in Lutz or North Tampa, the knowledgeable malpractice attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC can identify all the potentially liable parties and seek to hold them accountable for the harm that your family has suffered. We will fight for you to receive justice. Our North Tampa attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC represent individuals who have suffered harm from medication errors and pharmacist malpractice. Call our medication error attorneys today.