Medicine Mistakes: Yes, Doctors and Pharmacists Should Pay for Errors

Everyone knows someone who failed to take his or her medications correctly. When that happens, it is the fault of the patient. But doctors, pharmacists and nurses can make mistakes with pharmaceuticals that hurt the patient. That is the fault of the professional, and it happens more often than most people realize.

According to a report from The Medication Errors Panel (commissioned by the State of California, Senate Concurrent Resolution 49 and the California Pharmacists Association), more than 150,000 people in California are sickened, injured or killed every year due to a medication error. The types of mistakes that occur include:

  • Wrong prescriptions
  • Incorrect transcribing
  • Erroneous dispensing or instructions to the patient
  • Inadequate monitoring of use

The costs to the health care system in the state each year from these errors are believed to be $17.7 billion. As the panel’s report states, the tragedy of this is that despite best intentions, people are made sick or even die unnecessarily. It is not the original disease or injury that kills, but the intended cure.

Given the nature of health insurance coverage in the United States, this extension or worsening of health problems can be expensive for the patient. If it leads to premature death, the pain and loss from knowing it was preventable bears heavy on families.

If a health care provider is guilty of even a single incident of negligence in administering prescriptive medications, it fails to meet the standard of care all patients are due. This is why a prescription error lawsuit is entirely appropriate — to recoup losses to the patient and the patient’s survivors, and to encourage the provider to initiate operational programs that can prevent future errors.

If you or a loved one suffered unnecessarily as a result of a prescription error, speak with a malpractice attorney.

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