Pharmacy Malpractice in California: Know the Risks

Cases of Pharmacy Malpractice

The lawyers of our San Francisco firm know that medication mistakes are more common than you might think. Mistakes such as a mix-up based on a similar drug name can cause serious injury or even death. For example, according to a recent article by Thomson Reuters, a pharmacy mix-up made a woman ill and may have jeopardized her pregnancy. The error occurred because the pregnant woman has a last name that is similar to that of another customer, who had been prescribed a powerful anti-cancer drug. The drug, which can cause birth defects or miscarriages, has “very serious side effects” and is only prescribed after other drugs are ineffective.

The 19-year-old pregnant woman became nauseous after taking the drug. When she checked the prescription bottle, the young woman realized the Safeway store located in Colorado had given her the wrong medication. The woman was hospitalized, and the long-term effect on her pregnancy remains unclear. According to the article, Safeway—which is based in Pleasanton, California—said the pharmacist failed to follow company policy that requires workers to verify a person’s name and birth date and obtain verbal confirmation before a person is allowed to retrieve a call-in prescription.

Following Pharmacy Protocols Could Have Prevented Dispensing the Wrong Medicine

If the pharmacist had followed the appropriate protocol, he or she would have realized that the wrong drug was being dispensed because the customer who was supposed to receive the anti-cancer drug was 59-years-old. Instead, a pregnant woman 40 years her junior received the drug in error merely because they have similar last names, ultimately risking the life of the young woman and her unborn child.

The experienced San Francisco pharmacy malpractice attorneys at Callaway & Wolf have can handle prescription drug error cases, both against doctors who wrote a prescription for the wrong medication or dosage, as well as against pharmacies and pharmacists who have given a patient the wrong medication or dosage.

Some of the Most Common Prescription Errors include:

1. Prescriptions written for the incorrect dosage
2. Prescriptions filled with the wrong drug or incorrect dosage
3. Prescription errors based on similar drug names
4. Prescription mix-ups based on similar patient/customer last names
5. Prescription errors due to a doctor’s bad handwriting

Pharmacist Mistakes Can Go Undetected for Months

A recent pharmacy mix-up exposed children to a powerful cancer drug, reports United Press International. The mistake occurred when a family picked up a prescription for fluoride pills for their children from a CVS pharmacy but instead were given a medication used to treat breast cancer. The fluoride pills were intended for the children’s teeth, but the mix-up was not discovered for at least two months. In this instance, no illnesses were reported, but area parents were outraged.

It is unclear how many families were affected by the pharmacy error, but of course it is extremely upsetting to know that your children could accidentally be given a powerful drug with the potential to cause serious side effects following a routine dental or medical exam. CVS issued a statement saying the company is investigating the mix-up and noting that it has contacted all of the area families whose children may have been affected.

Pharmacy Malpractice Attorneys in California

We know that San Francisco pharmacy malpractice is a serious issue. Medication errors can have long-lasting and harmful effects. If a prescription error made by your doctor or pharmacy has led to serious health complications for you or someone you love, it is important to understand your legal rights as soon as possible.