Pharmaceutical malpractice occurs more often than people realize.
Pharmaceutical drugs play a crucial role in our healthcare system, and we rely on them to control pain, prevent disease, and correct organic functions. They are powerful drugs that can profoundly alter the way our bodies function. Often these changes are for the better, like when we take medication to make pain go away, use a drug to detect an underlying medical problem, or cure an illness.
Because the stakes can be so high, drug manufacturers have a duty to put safe products into the market, doctors have a duty to prescribe the right drugs for a patient, and pharmacists have a duty to properly fill a prescription when people come to them.
When pharmaceutical companies market drugs that are defective or that cause long-term health problems, the drug manufacturer can be held responsible. If a doctor prescribes the wrong drug or a pharmacist improperly fills a prescription, these professionals can be held responsible for the harm they cause.
Types of Pharmaceutical Malpractice
There are four primary kinds of pharmaceutical malpractice: improperly manufactured drugs, drugs that are improperly prescribed, prescriptions that are improperly filled, and failure to advise a patient about long-term consequences of a prescription medication.
Depending on the nature of the harm caused and how the pharmaceutical malpractice occurred, different parties might be responsible. An experienced pharmaceutical malpractice attorney can help you determine which type of malpractice occurred, and hold the responsible parties accountable.
If a pharmaceutical company puts a drug on the market that has not been properly tested, if a drug has side effects that patients were not warned of, or if the drug is contaminated, the pharmaceutical company may be liable for manufacturing or marketing a defective drug.
Sometimes drugs are rushed to market without adequate safety testing. Other times drugs are tested and the drug company knew of potentially negative side effects but failed to warn doctors prescribing the drug or patients taking it. And in still other cases drugs contain ingredients that should not be in them, such as when drugs are contaminated during the manufacturing process, or when the chemical composition of a drug includes ingredients that cause more harm than good.
When a pharmaceutical company manufactures and markets a drug that is not safe, the pharmaceutical company can and should be held responsible.
Improperly Prescribed Medications
Doctors have a duty to care for their patients. When a doctor recommends a drug that is inappropriate for the patient, the doctor can be held liable for malpractice. The wrong prescription may be the result of an uninformed doctor who did not adequately research the prescription medication before recommending it for patient use, or because the drug has harmful interactions with other medications a patient is taking.
Improperly Filled Prescriptions
Like doctors, pharmacists have a duty to care for people who come to them for medications. They have an obligation to provide the correct medication, in the correct dosage.
Sometimes the pharmacist fills the prescription for the right medicine, but in the wrong dosage. Other times, the pharmacist provides the wrong medication because of a problem reading the doctor’s handwriting, or because two pills might look similar to one another.
The pharmacist is responsible for reviewing the prescription, confirming the doctor’s instructions, and giving the patient the correct medicine in the correct dosage.
When patients receive the wrong medication, or receive the right medication but in the wrong dosage, the results can be life-threatening, and the pharmacist can and should be held responsible.
Undisclosed Long-term Consequences
Pharmacists and doctors also have a duty to advise patients about possible long-term consequences of a particular medication. This includes telling patients about potential interactions with other drugs the patient is currently taking or might take, limitations on activities, and known side effects of the drug.
The pharmacist must also ensure that the medication is properly labeled, and that the label includes appropriate warnings about potential side effects and drug interactions.
Protecting Your Family from Pharmaceutical Malpractice
The best way to protect your family from pharmaceutical malpractice is by being a diligent consumer. Ask questions, and learn about the medications you are being prescribed and their potential interactions with other medications you might be taking.
If you have concerns about a prescription, speak up. Talk to you doctor and your pharmacist.
If your family has suffered an injury because of pharmaceutical malpractice, an Ohio malpractice attorney can help.
At Robenalt Law, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can help you determine whether your injuries were the result of a defective drug, the wrong prescription, a prescription being filled improperly, or a failure to warn you of potential consequences.
You and your family may be eligible to receive compensation because of a pharmaceutical error, including:
Costs of medical treatment
Pain and suffering
Our experienced Ohio pharmaceutical malpractice lawyers will identify the responsible parties and hold them accountable for the harm they caused.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing doctors and pharmaceutical companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent drug manufacturers, doctors, and pharmacists.
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